Newsletter : 4fax0518.txt
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El Al Warns Pilots of 747 Engine Failures
El Al has issued new operating instructions to pilots flying its Boeing 747-200
aircraft, pending completion of an investigation into a recent series of in-flight engine
problems on these planes. The instructions include a warning to pay special attention to
the flow of gas to the engines to avoid engine stall-out. Initial findings of the
investigation indicate that some of the engine problems were caused by faulty calibration
and turbine failure. El Al's five 747-200 planes are among the oldest components of El
Al's fleet and are mainly used as cargo aircrafts, but can also be used as passenger
Israel: Hizbullah Sponsors Palestinian Terrorism
By Agence France Presse
Hizbullah is increasingly seeking to supervise the military operations of Palestinian
militant groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an Israeli military source said Monday.
"In the past two months, we have foiled 19 suicide attacks inside Israel, all of them were
sponsored by Hizbullah," the intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
He stressed that Hizbullah had long had structural ties with the Hamas and Islamic
Jihad radical groups through their Syrian patron, but added that some cells of the
Fatah-linked Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank were increasingly
dependent on the fundamentalist militia.
The official claimed that four years after Israel's withdrawal from South Lebanon,
Hizbullah was seeking a new battlefield to retain its prestige while at the same time
using the Palestinians as proxies to avoid direct reprisals. "For Hizbullah, the
Palestinian adventure is a way of keeping their 'jihadic' identity and avoiding being
turned into just another Lebanese political party," the official said.
He said Hizbullah's support consisted in delivering arms through all borders, supplying
military know-how and even on an operational level, coordinating joint operations
involving several Palestinian groups. According to Hizbullah MP Ghaleb Abu Zeinab, "those
allegations are not new."
Abu Zeinab said that it is typical of the Israeli administration to "throw the blame
for its failure to control the situation inside the occupied territories on others. "The
struggle is at least 50 years old and is older than Hizbullah. It is a struggle against an
occupier and it is really not triggered by anything else," he said, adding: "People in
Palestine might be taking a moral boost from the liberation of the South, but the
sponsoring stops there."
Palestinian PM Appeals for Help to Stop Israeli Demolition of Homes
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia has welcomed the offer of an Israeli withdrawal
from Gaza, but says he wants to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. And,
in talks with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, he also appealed for help to end
the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes to enlarge a security zone in Gaza.
Speaking after his meeting with Rice, Qureia welcomed the Israeli offer to evacuate all
Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, but said it can only be part of a wider negotiated
agreement. He said serious negotiations are needed with the support of the international
sponsors of the road map peace plan, the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the
European Union. He said experience shows that giving the process all the time it needs has
not worked, so he wants the fastest possible return to the negotiating table.
The Palestinian prime minister also urged the United States to stop Israel from
destroying more homes in Gaza, where it is widening a security zone where five Israeli
soldiers were killed last week. Rice said the United States is discussing the issue with
Israel, but she made no promises.
The talks in the German capital follow Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to
Washington last month, when President Bush endorsed his unilateral Gaza withdrawal plan.
The U.S. decision was very controversial among Arab countries. Qureia met Saturday with
Secretary of State Colin Powell in Jordan.
President Bush's national security adviser described her one-and-one-half-hour meeting
with Qureia as good, and said they discussed the establishment of the institutions needed
to begin preparing for Palestinian statehood.
Meanwhile Monday, Israel launched a massive military operation in the southern Gaza
strip aimed at stopping alleged arms smuggling from Egypt and attacks by Palestinian
militants. Israel said troops are under orders to seal off the town of Rafah, which it
claims is a major base of support for armed Palestinian groups, from the rest of Gaza.
Israeli soldiers, among the hundreds deployed in southern Gaza, have clashed with armed
Palestinians. Israel said its troops opened fire after Palestinian militants attacked them
with anti-tank missiles. The Palestinian militants launched the attacks in an attempt to
drive back the Israelis forces, which include armored, engineering and infantry units,
backed by tanks, bulldozers, and helicopter gunships.
The forces entered Rafah early Monday, and some units began tearing up roads around the
town. Thousands of Palestinians are reported to be fleeing the area amid fears that
Israeli soldiers will demolish their homes in a refugee camp. The Israeli troops were told
to destroy what Israel called the terrorist infrastructure in the town, including a
network of tunnels used to smuggle weapons and explosives from neighboring Egypt.
The operation follows a decision of the Israeli cabinet on Sunday to step up military
operations, following the killing of seven soldiers in the area last week. Six other
soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip. The fighting also killed at least 32 Palestinians
Yigal Amir Says He Doesn't Regret Murdering Rabin
Yigal Amir has no regrets for murdering Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and believes that
the act was necessary. Speaking to reporters ahead of a court hearing on his request to
marry his fiancée, Amir said that Monday's events proves that what he did was
right. "Everything I said [in 1995] has come true today. I knew that the whole [Oslo]
process was one big lie ... Everyone knows this, but go on anyway as though they are
blind." He argued that what he did was not murder as he his intention was not bad. He said
he did what he did to save the Jewish people.
Amir's attorney said Sunday that he would ask the Prisons Service court to allow
Rabin's assassin to provide sperm for artificial insemination of his wife-to-be, Larisa
Trimbobler. Attorney Shmuel Caspar told the court on Monday that allowing Amir to marry
would help rehabilitate the life prisoner, which is in the interest of both the state and
the Prisons Service. Trimbobler was also present for Monday's hearing.
The court said it would hand down its decision in the case in two weeks' time. The
Prisons Service has expressed opposition to the wedding. Amir on Monday slammed the
Prisons Service for his opposition to the union, pointing out that the Knesset last week
rejected a bill that would bar him from marrying and asking how the Prisons Service could
try to bypass the parliament.
The Prisons Service said that it would finalize its position on the marriage only after
a decision by the Tel Aviv District Court regarding Amir's request to be allowed to
consummate the marriage. However, representatives of the State Prosecutor's Office, which
is representing the Prisons Service, claim that the position of the chief rabbi of the
Prisons Service is that "it's preferable not to hold such weddings" if the prisoner is not
allowed to consummate the marriage.
In response, the Prisons Service said that Amir would clearly not be given the right to
consummate his marriage to Trimbobler because he was a security prisoner. Such prisoners
are not permitted conjugal visits, which are considered a security risk.
According to the Prisons Service, there are some 3,300-security prisoners jailed in
Israel, almost all of them are forbidden from conjugal visits. There are only a few
exceptions, and those are for prisoners who have authorization from security officials in
the Prison Service.
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