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>Israel Faxx
>JN Oct. 17, 2003, Vol. 11, No. 178

Women's Groups Ask You to Call Bush

By Israel Faxx News Services

A coalition of women's organizations representing a broad spectrum of Jewish political and religious views is asking Israel Faxx's readers to call President Bush to thank him and ask for his continued support of Israel.

Bush, said the coalition, should be told, "We stand in solidarity with the State of Israel and for a strong and enduring US-Israel relationship. We support Israel and America in the fight against terror and commit to fighting the scourge of anti-Semitism, bigotry and racism." Bush's phone number is 202-456-1111 or email to

Palestinian Police Arrest 3 in Gaza Bombing

By VOA News

Palestinian police have arrested three people and are seeking two more in connection with Wednesday's bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy in the Gaza Strip. The explosion killed three American security guards and brought renewed pressure on the Palestinian Authority to crack down on militants.

Palestinian officials said three members of a militant group known as the Popular Resistance Committees were arrested early Thursday in the Jabaliya refugee camp, near the site of the bombing. A fourth suspect got away during a gun battle between militants and security forces. The two wanted suspects also are said to belong to the Popular Resistance Committees. The group consists largely of former Palestinian security officials and disgruntled members of the Fatah movement of Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat. The Popular Resistance Committees and the main Palestinian militant groups have denied involvement in the attack.

The U.S. security personnel and diplomats were on their way to Gaza City to meet with Palestinian academics about Fulbright scholarships. The three Americans were killed when a powerful bomb detonated as their car passed, destroying the armored vehicle and leaving behind blood, body parts and mangled metal.

Washington has sent a team of FBI specialists to assist with the investigation, and Palestinian leaders are pledging full cooperation. Arafat told reporters Thursday he has mobilized his security team to find the attackers. He described the attack as a "shameful, dirty and very serious act against friends of the Palestinian people - the Americans."

In the southern Gaza Strip, a shoot-out with Israeli soldiers in the Rafah refugee camp has left one Palestinian police officer dead and at least six people wounded. Israel's military has been conducting raids in the area, targeting tunnels it says are used to smuggle weapons from Egypt.

Federman Petitions to be 'Deported' to Gaza


Right wing activist Noam Federman, who is in administrative detention, has called on Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz demanding "equality." Federman, who is affiliated with the outlawed Kach party, is demanding he be 'deported' to Gush Katif (Gaza) as the army is doing with 18 terrorists now being held in administrative detention.

Federman stated ignoring his request and keeping him in administrative detention would be outright discrimination. He stated if the defense minister ignores his request, he would turn to the Supreme Court.

Dead Sea Tourist Projects Threatened by Receding Waterline

By Tzafrir Rinat

The hotels on the banks of the sea at the lowest point on earth will attract thousands of tourists, fascinated by the unique natural phenomenon. That was how the Israeli tourist industry once portrayed the future of the northern shore of the Dead Sea, which so far has not been developed. Similar plans were drawn up for the section of the sea to the south of Ein Gedi.

Recently, however, sources at the Geological Institute in Jerusalem are now warning that all plans for the development of new infrastructure and tourist attractions along the shores of the Dead Sea will need to be revamped, because of the side effects of the continued drop in the level of the water. The new hotels, experts say, will have to be constructed much further from the water than in the past.

The southern section of the Dead Sea has become, over the years, an area of industrial plants, while in the northern part, most of the water that flows from the Jordan River is used for agriculture or drinking water. As a result of both these processes, the water level of the Dead Sea is dropping by 3.9 feet every year. Over the next 50 years, the level will drop by a total of 211 feet.

Among the worrying side effects of the drop in the level of the Dead Sea is the sudden appearance of potholes in various locations close to the water. According to Dr. Amos Bain and Dr. Etai Gavrieli of the Geological Institute, over 1,000 such potholes have been counted in the region. With the drop in the sea level, the level of the groundwater also drops, allowing fresh water to a penetrate, dissolving the salt deposits. As a result, a subterranean vacuum is created, which, eventually, collapses inward. According to Bain and Gavrieli, the largest concentrations of potholes are located close to the proposed new tourist area south of Ein Gedi.

The sea's retreat also effects the large streams that are fed by floodwater in the winter. These streams have begin flowing even deeper, threatening the foundations of Route 90, which runs from north to south, parallel to the Dead Sea. Two years ago, a bridge over the Arugot stream collapsed.

The receding waterline has also created large areas of boggy mud, which not only makes life difficult for hikers, but also cuts off access to significant areas of the sea itself. The springs on the edges of the Dead Sea, which have become attractions for tourists and hikers alike, are also under serious threat. Because of the changes to the groundwater level, it is feared that their large springs will dry up completely, leaving only smaller, localized springs, and altering the entire ecological balance. Eventually, experts warn, this could lead to the complete evaporation of the few oases that remain. As a result of this fear, the Geological Institute has begun to monitor Ein Fascha, one of the most popular sites in the region.

In recent years, several possible solution have been put forward, primarily a suggestion to pump water from the Red Sea, via the Jordan River. This would halt the drop in the level of the sea, and could also, in the future, lead to a rise in the water level, back to previous levels.

Last year, the Geological Institute initiated an experiment, which simulated the processes at work in the Dead Sea area, and those that can be expected in the future if the Red Sea-Dead Sea link is established. According to Gavrieli, experts can already predict which processes with occur, and with two years will be able to estimate their extent and present the findings to the powers that be. The experiment is being conducted as part of attempts by the Environment and Infrastructures Ministries, together with the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies to draw up a policy paper for the Dead Sea.

Bain and Gavrieli, however, stress that even if it is decided to build a canal between the two seas, the entire project could last anything up to two decades. It is far from clear whether the establishment of such a canal will do anything to relieve the current predicament. Since no dramatic regional changes are expected in the coming decades, and the sea level is expected to go on dropping, sources at the Geological Institute argue that development at the Dead Sea should take into account the ecological problems that have been created.

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