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Israel to Launch its Second Commercial Satellite


Israel is slated to launch its second commercial communications satellite on Dec. 27, from Kazakhstan, according to the satellite's operators Spacecom Ltd, Ha'aretz reported. The AMOS 2 satellite will be launched at 21:30 GMT by the Russian Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle. The project cost $150 million, said David Pollack, Spacecom's chief executive. It is a joint venture of four companies, including state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries, which built the satellite. Launched in 1996, AMOS 1 was Israel's first communications satellite, providing broadcasting services for Israeli and foreign customers in the Middle East as well as Central and Eastern Europe.

Israel has Strong Claims Against Saddam


Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that Israel should join the prosecution against Saddam Hussein. He mentioned in this connection Iraq's Scud missile attacks on Israel in 1991, as well as the Saddam regime's support for Palestinian suicide bombings.

During the three years of the PA-initiated Oslo War, Hussein sent millions of dollars to the PA-controlled territories, including $25,000 to the family of each suicide bomber and a more modest $10,000 for each Arab killed otherwise in fighting with Israelis.

Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid also said Monday that Israel must participate in the preparations for the prosecution of Saddam Hussein. "Next to his invasion of Kuwait, the [39] Scud missiles that he launched against Israel [in 1991] are the worst things that he did." Lapid said that it doesn't matter where the trial is held: "Even if it's in Baghdad, we must send our witnesses."

"Firing missiles without provocation at a country that was not involved in the war," the Justice Minister said, "is a war crime according to any definition of international law. Saddam must not be vindicated from this crime." It has been reported in the past that Israel sought over $1 billion from Iraq in compensation for damages caused by the Gulf War Scud missiles. This sum would include $103 million for material damages, and $903 million for increased defense costs.

Arabs in the Palestinian Authority have reacted to the capture of Saddam with "gloom, disbelief, and shock," according to local reports. The Jerusalem Post quoted one PA resident as saying, "I love him so much, I can't stand watching it while he's in custody," and yet another as lamenting, "We are so sad." Ha'aretz, for its part, told of a taxi driver in Ramallah who said, "It's a black day in history... not because Saddam is an Arab, but because he is the only man who said 'no' to American injustice in the Middle East."

Sharon Ally Doubts Israel PM Can Win Support for Uprooting Settlers

By VOA News

A member of Israel's ruling Likud Party said while he welcomes Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's opening of a debate on the future of the occupied territories, he says he does not believe Sharon will win the necessary support for uprooting Jewish settlements.

Sharon has sparked a heated debate within his party by publicly supporting a Palestinian state and talking about possible unilateral moves. Most observers believe he is preparing the way for a possible future withdrawal of troops from some parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the uprooting of some Jewish settlements.

Mordechai Taub, a member of the Likud Central Committee representing Jewish settlers, opposes such a policy. At the same, he told Israel Radio he defends Sharon's right to speak his mind. "Although I disagree with him, and I think his ideas are bad and dangerous for the security of the country and against our ideology," said Taub, "I believe he provided a great service by speaking frankly and openly and saying what he actually believes and therefore causing other individuals to be forced to take specific positions. And I believe that is healthy for democracy, its healthy for the Likud and its healthy for the future of this country."

Taub said that while he believes the debate is constructive, in the end Sharon would not win support he needs either at home or abroad for unilateral moves. "The Palestinians in reality will be angry and the Americans are angry because it looks as if we are attempting to pre-determine what they consider are the final borders [of a Palestinian state]."

In other Israeli news, Israeli troops shot and killed two unarmed Palestinians as they approached a security fence in the Gaza Strip in an apparent bid to enter into Israel. The military said soldiers shot at a group of six Palestinians who were trying to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza. They later found the bodies of two unarmed men, another was later apprehended inside Israel and three others are still being sought. The military said it has yet to determine whether the men were trying to enter Israel to carry out an attack or to find work.

Israel Reveals Weapon That Shoots Around Corners

By Israel Faxx News Services and AFP

Corner Shot, a weapon system that provides the ability to observe and engage a target from behind a corner, was officially unveiled Monday in Israel. It enables security forces to completely protect themselves from the line of fire when shooting a target.

The system was invented by Amos Golan and developed together with Asaf Nadel, both senior former combat and special units officers. Corner Shot is a highly technological system that attaches to most handguns currently used by Special Forces. It includes a small, high-resolution camera and monitor, which can observe and view a target from various vantage points.

The detachable video camera enables forces to scan an area prior to pinpointing a target and broadcast the footage directly, in real time, to the operating team behind, or to a monitor at command post in the rear. Corner Shot can be accurately deployed from behind any cover since the operator can view and aim via the LCD monitor which is fixed on the back of the Corner Shot.

Golan, one of Corner Shot's founders and a former Anti-Terror Unit commander, said: "I believe that the Corner Shot weapon system can be extremely beneficial in the global war on terror. It protects soldiers' lives and increases their chances of survival, while drastically improving their ability to gather information and transmit the combat scenario as well as pinpoint and engage targets out of their line of sight.

Russian soldiers during the bloody World War II siege of Stalingrad first had the idea of bending the barrels of their rifles to shoot around corners. And their Nazi opponents developed a purpose-built attachment fitted with a periscope, which they called the krummerlauf.

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