Newsletter : 3fax1030.txt
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Denmark Marked Holocaust Valor
Approximately 1,000 people showed up at Copenhagen's synagogue Tuesday night to mark 60
years since the Danish people displayed their mettle and organized to smuggle their Jewish
compatriots out of Denmark during the Nazi occupation of the Scandinavian state. Nearly
all of Denmark's 8,000 Jews survived the war in neutral Sweden thanks to the actions of
their non-Jewish Danish neighbors in 1943. Queen Margrethe, government and parliament
members, ambassadors from Sweden, Germany, Israel and the United States, and others
attended the ceremony in the downtown synagogue.
Israel May Ease Restrictions on Palestinians
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel may begin easing restrictions on the Palestinian population after a month of
closures and curfews in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Army Radio reported that Israel may
soon begin to allow several thousand Palestinian workers and merchants back into Israel
and that travel restrictions in Palestinian cities and towns and between communities would
also be eased.
The Israeli military has put varying restrictions on the Palestinian territories since
the outbreak of violence more than three years ago. Israel closed off the West Bank and
Gaza and imposed curfews a month ago. The tight closures were imposed prior to the Jewish
New Year holiday, because of fears of attacks, and have been extended since then.
Israeli media reports said Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has come under pressure from
the upper echelons of the military to ease the plight of the Palestinians. Newspapers
quoted military officers as saying that continuing tight closures do not enhance Israel's
security, but rather increase hopelessness, desperation, and anger among Palestinians. And
that, they say, strengthens militant groups and increases the risk of future attacks
Yediot Achronot quoted one unidentified officer as saying Israel was stingy with former
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, by not being more forthcoming in easing
restrictions and turning control of West Bank cities back over to the Palestinians.
When Abbas resigned in early September, he sharply rebuked Israel for having done
nothing to move the fragile Roadmap peace plan ahead. Israeli military officers are now
quoted as saying that Israel should not make the same mistake with the current Palestinian
Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.
Several newspapers talked about sharp criticism by military officers of the political
establishment. Mofaz reportedly turned down a request last week by Army Chief of Staff
Moshe Ya'alon to begin easing the closures and blockades on Palestinian population
centers. But when touring the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Mofaz told reporters the government
wanted to take every step possible to ease the plight of the Palestinian population.
New Israeli Processor Computes at Speed of Light
Israeli start-up Lenslet has developed a processor that uses optics instead of silicon,
enabling it to compute at the speed of light, the company said. adding that its processor
would enable new capabilities in homeland security and
military, multimedia and communications applications.
"Optical processing is a strategic competitive advantage for nations and companies,"
said Avner Halperin, vice president
for business development at Lenslet. "Processing at the speed of light, you can have safer
airports, autonomous military systems, high-definition multimedia broadcast systems and
advanced next-generation communications systems."
An optical processor is a digital signal processor (DSP) with an optical accelerator
attached to it that enables it to perform functions at very high speeds. "It is an
acceleration of 20 years in the development of digital hardware," Lenslet
founder and Chief Executive Officer Aviram Sariel told Reuters.
The processor performs 8 trillion operations per second, equivalent to a super-computer
and 1,000 times faster than standard processors, with 256 lasers performing computations
at light speed. It is geared towards such applications as high
resolution radar, electronic warfare, luggage screening at airports, video compression,
weather forecasting and cellular base stations.
Lenslet has raised $27.5 million so far from such investors as Goldman Sachs, Walden
VC, Germany's Star Ventures and Chicago-based JKiB Capital. The prototype is fairly large
and bulky but when Lenslet begins to supply the processor in a few months it will be
shrunk to 15 x 15 cm with a height of 1.7 cm, roughly the size of a Palm Pilot. "In five
years we plan to shrink it to a single chip," project manager Asaf Schlezinger said.
Changing the Face of the Country - Literally
Could earth cleared out to make room for a canal in the Negev be used to build an
artificial island off the coast of Tel Aviv? If so, the Land of Israel may be undergoing a
major face-lift in the coming decades.
For one thing, the Transportation, Infrastructures and Interior Ministries have
embarked on the initial stages of project to move the large Pi Gelilot fuel facility to a
not-yet-built offshore artificial island. The Interior Ministry publicized a request for
proposals for a document outlining the ramifications of such a move.
The government decided last year to close the Pi Gelilot site and relocate the fuel
facility elsewhere. The decision was made following two failed terrorist attempts to blow
up Pi Gelilot in May and August 2002, which could have caused thousands of casualties.
Infrastructures Minister Yosef Paritzky has said that he wants to relocate the facility on
an artificial island - but the Cabinet has yet to approve the use of such an island for
Another geographical change under consideration in government circles is the
construction of a canal from the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Ashkelon, to the Red Sea
port of Eilat. Israel's economic attaché in Taiwan, Danny Tal, heads a group that
has sent a detailed proposal to the Finance and Infrastructures Ministers - and Netanyahu
is said to have shown interest, contingent upon similar interest by foreign investors.
The 180-mile-long canal would present a competitive alternative to Egypt's Suez Canal,
which cannot accept two-way traffic along its entire route and cannot accept tankers wider
than 53 meters. Despite optimistic projections for growing maritime traffic between Europe
and Asia, pessimists say that Egypt will never agree to an end to its monopoly on canal
Mideast Peace Failures Affect Ordinary Arabs and Jews
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Washington)
Three women from the Jerusalem area - a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim - are reaching
across their own physical and psychological barriers to speak out about the impact of the
collapsed peace talks on ordinary Israelis and Palestinians.
Their U.S. tour is organized by an American non-government organization, Partners for
Peace that promotes a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. English teacher Mai
Nassar, who is a Palestinian Christian, lives in the Palestinian village of Beit Jala,
which is normally about a 15-minute drive from Jerusalem. She works at nearby Bethlehem
University. Life these days, she says, is like living in a prison without cells.
"We can't go anywhere," she said. "We're locked inside. If we want to go to visit a
relative on the other side of the town, we have to cross a checkpoint or go another route.
To move from Beit Jala to Jerusalem you need a permit. So I haven't entered Jerusalem for
Israeli anthropologist Yehudit Keshet says there are many Israelis who choose to deny
Palestinian suffering but she adds there are many who do not. "People know. As I said,
their sons, their brothers, their fathers, my son serves in the army. They're doctors in
hospitals where the wounded are brought sometimes," she said. Keshet says her work with
Checkpoint Watch also has opened her eyes to the daily plight of ordinary Palestinians.
Shet helped establish the non-government group that monitors the actions of Israeli
soldiers at checkpoints around Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Both women acknowledge that continued Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli military
operations against suspected Palestinian radicals have weakened the voice of the peace
camps on both sides.
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