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>Israel Faxx
>JN Sept. 24, 2003, Vol. 11, No. 162

Simcha Dinitz Dead at 74


Simcha Dinitz died Tuesday morning in his Jerusalem home. He was born 74 years ago in Tel Aviv, served in the Hagana and IDF and studied political science at the University of Cincinnati.

Dinitz then joined the Israeli Foreign Ministry and later served as political advisor to Prime Minister Golda Meir from 1969-1973, and as ambassador to the United States from 1973-1978. He played a major role in coordinating the weapons shipments to Israel received from the U.S. during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Dinitz was a member of the Israeli delegation during the Camp David peace talks with Egypt. On Wednesday Dinitz will lie in state and then be laid to rest on Mt. Herzl in the area set aside for leaders of the nation.

Thwarted Attack Against El Al Flight

By & Ha'aretz

According to a Channel 2 News report, Bangkok police stopped a man who was taking photos of airport happenings. On his person, police found a first draft plan for firing a surface-to-air missile at an El Al flight following takeoff.

It appears the suspect was taken into custody about three months ago - adding his obvious curiosity in the El Al counter tipped police that something was not right. Thailand security officials have linked the suspect to Al Qaeda, adding details of a planned attack against El Al were found in the suspects home. The suspect's nationality and identity remain undisclosed.

Apparently, his plan was to either destroy an El Al plane with an anti-aircraft missile, or to attack passengers in the airport with gunfire or explosives. Security at Bangkok airport has been tightened and changes have been made to minimize the risk of a missile attack, security sources said.

El Al runs regular passenger flights between Bangkok and Tel Aviv as well as a cargo line between the two cities. As with El Al terminals in other airports overseas, security at the company's facility in Bangkok International Airport combines local and Israeli personnel. Armed Israelis guard the route that leads passengers from security counters in the airport to the plane.

Generally, Israeli security personnel are concentrated in areas where El Al passengers cluster. When a plane is parked, awaiting passengers to board, most Israeli security personnel patrol the terminal area where passengers gather before entering the plane, with only one guard watching the plane itself. As passengers move toward the plane and board, the guards follow, so before the plane flies, Israeli security men surround it.

A former El Al security officer from Bangkok Tuesday night said beefing up security at the airport mainly means deploying more personnel. "Security at Bangkok is basically the same as used by El Al in other airports around the world, except this is a country with a large number of Muslims and where the number of warnings about possible attacks is relatively high," he said. In 1994 a booby-trapped car with a 700-kg bomb exploded close to Israel's embassy in Bangkok.

Recently, media reports disclosed a decision to equip El Al planes with defensive systems against surface-to-air missiles. In the first stage, El Al planes that fly to and from destinations that are considered high security risks will be fitted with the anti-missile measures -including planes on the Tel Aviv-Bangkok route.

Before Tuesday's disclosure, reports had circulated of Al-Qaida plans to fire missiles at planes at Bangkok airport and to carry out attacks on Israeli, American and Japanese embassies in Thailand. A senior operative in the Jemaah al-Islamiyah organization, Radwan Issam a-Din, who was arrested in Thailand on August 11, told investigators of the plot to fire missiles at the planes. A-Din, better known as Hambali, was the link between Jemaah al-Islamiyah and Al-Qaida.

In November 2002, two shoulder-launched missiles were fired at an Arkia passenger plane carrying over 270 people as it left Kenya's Mombasa Airport for Tel Aviv. The attack was a failure, with both missiles narrowly missing the charter plane.

Israeli Troops Kill Armed Palestinian

By VOA News

The Israeli military said troops have killed an armed Palestinian man who tried to infiltrate a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip. A spokesman said the man was shot near the Dugit settlement Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said there has been progress in German-mediated talks on a prisoner exchange between Israel and the Lebanese terrorist Hizbullah group. But he denied reports that Marwan Barghouti, the most senior Palestinian held by Israel, would be part of a swap. Israel is demanding the release of an Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers captured by Hizbullah.

In other developments, an Israeli government sturdy said the Jewish settlement population grew by nearly six percent last year - despite U.S. pressure to stop construction of the outposts. Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics found the number of settlers living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip grew by nearly 13,000 between 2001 and 2002. Births accounted for just more than half of the growth, and new settlers made up the remainder.

The Palestinians said that continued Israeli settlement building in the occupied territories shows Israel is not committed to peace, and that the United States said it would deduct the cost of construction from loan guarantees to Israel.

Bush Calls on Palestinians to Develop Democratic Institutions

By David Gollust (VOA-United Nations)

President Bush, in his U.N. General Assembly speech Tuesday, called on the Palestinians to follow the lead of Iraq in developing democratic institutions, while his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, urged a new international push to implement the "road map" to an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

The president touched on the Middle East conflict only briefly in his address dominated by a defense of U.S. actions in Iraq. But in another implicit condemnation of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, he said the Palestinians would be wise to follow the lead of Iraq in turning away from authoritarian rule and building democratic institutions.

"The advance of democratic institutions in Iraq is setting an example that others, including the Palestinian people, would be wise to follow," said Bush. "The Palestinian cause is betrayed by leaders who cling to power by feeding old hatreds and destroying the good work of others. The Palestinian people deserve their own state, and they will gain that state by embracing new leaders committed to reform, to fighting terror, and to building peace."

Bush said Arab nations must cut off funding and other support for Palestinian factions involved in terrorism. He also called on both Israel and the Palestinians to live up to commitments made at the Aqaba summit in June, in which they pledged to adhere to the Middle East peace "road map" and he said Israel must work to create the conditions that will allow a peaceful Palestinian state to emerge.

Progress in implementing the "road map" has all but ground to a halt in recent months amid anti-Israeli terror attacks and retaliation by Israel, and the sponsors of the peace plan - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - are to hold a ministerial-level meeting at the U.N. on Friday to discuss how to proceed.

In advance of the meeting, French President Jacques Chirac, in his General Assembly address, called on the international community to commit itself to the "road map" with renewed vigor. Heard through an interpreter, Chirac said the "road map" should have a monitoring mechanism to insure compliance.

"The international community must restore the dynamic for peace," said Chirac. "It must involve itself in the implementation of the road map. That should be the objective of the upcoming meeting of the Quartet to be held at the ministerial level. France believes that the idea of a monitoring mechanism is a relevant as ever, and that the convening of the international conference is a goal to be attained as soon as possible."

Chirac said despite the current level of tensions, the two sides should not "succumb to the temptation" of trying to resolve the dispute by military force, or what he termed "futile radicalization."

Friday's meeting of the "road map" partners will be the first since June. Formally presented to the parties last January, the plan calls for reciprocal confidence-building measures by the two sides leading to a two-state solution of the conflict by 2005.

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