Newsletter : 4fax0520.txt
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State of War Justified Hitting the Enemy
Rabbi Dov Lior, who heads the Yesha Rabbinical Forum, announced that in a state of war,
the IDF might target the enemy even though it involves hitting "innocent citizens." Lior
pointed out our Torah teaches us the importance of protecting the lives of our soldiers
and citizens, and the true morality of the Torah, adding we must not feel guilt due to the
morality of the non-Jews. In other news, Israeli officials reported that humanitarian
assistance offered the PA following Wednesday's Gaza incident was rejected. In addition,
it appears that PA officials have turned down an Israeli offer to establish a joint
Israel-PA investigative committee.
Israeli Army Expresses Regrets for Palestinian Civilian Deaths
By VOA News
The Israeli army expressed sadness Wednesday for the killing of at least 23
Palestinians in southern Gaza. All the dead are reported to be under 18. More than 50 were
wounded after an Israeli tank and a helicopter fired towards a crowd of Palestinian
demonstrators in Rafah. The death toll has risen to more than 30 since Israel launched a
military incursion in the area to destroy weapons smuggling tunnels and arrest Palestinian
The Israeli Army released a statement Wednesday expressing deep sorrow over the loss of
civilian lives. The statement said that the incident occurred as a crowd of demonstrators,
organized by the Palestinian Authority, left central Rafah and marched towards Israeli
forces stationed on the outskirts of the town. The army spokesman said that as the
demonstrators, with Palestinian gunmen among them, drew close to the Israeli troops, a
single helicopter missile was fired as a warning into an open area.
Flares were also fired from a helicopter but when the crowd kept marching towards them,
the Israeli troops fired a machine gun and four tank shells at the wall of an abandoned
structure. The Israeli statement said it was possible that the casualties were a result of
the tank fire and investigations are continuing.
Palestinian officials and an Israeli reporter at the scene gave the death toll at least
23 -- most of them Palestinian school children. Palestinian hospitals have confirmed 10
dead -- all of them children.
The statement was released after Palestinian officials expressed their outrage at the
incident, calling it a massacre and a war crime. Palestinian Cabinet Minister Ghassan
Khatib gave this reaction. "This most recent and most vicious Israeli crime of shelling by
missiles a peaceful demonstration is an indicator of the real intentions of the Israeli
Army which is simply trying to effect the maximum casualties of the Palestinian people
regardless of whether they are civilians are otherwise."
But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman, Raanan Gissin, insisted the
Israeli army did not intentionally fire on the Palestinian demonstrators. "Israel has no
policy whatsoever of shooting at the crowds of demonstrators, willfully and directly," he
said. "Therefore we are conducting a very thorough investigation, almost like a police
investigation, to find out what happened there."
Before the incident, Israeli officials said the operation in Rafah would continue until
it destroyed all tunnels used to smuggle weapons and explosives from neighboring Egypt.
But some Israeli commentators said that the incident may force Israel to withdraw from the
area sooner rather than later, for fear of drawing more condemnation from the
President Bush has urged restraint on the part of both Israelis and Palestinians amid
escalating violence in the Gaza Strip. The president said he wants to get "clarification"
on what occurred during Wednesday's attack. "It is essential that people respect innocent
life in order for us to achieve peace."
Bush declined to speak in detail about the latest developments in the region, but said
he wants to get all the facts first from Israeli officials. "And we will get clarification
from the government. I have not had a chance to speak to the government, or be briefed,
but I will continue to speak out about the need for all parties to respect innocent life
in the Middle East."
Later in the day, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked if there had been any
response from Israel to the request for information. He said the United States was very
concerned about the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza but indicated Washington needs to know
more about exactly what happened on the ground. "We have been told Israel is investigating
and we expect an explanation as that investigation is completed." McClellan said Israel
has called this a tragic event and the Sharon government has expressed deep regret. He
said the Bush administration shares that view.
It is a delicate situation for the president, who as recently as Tuesday signaled his
strong support for Israel. Bush told a meeting of pro-Israel Americans that he remains
committed to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state. At the time, the president
said he was troubled by the unfolding violence in Gaza, but stressed peace is still
Israeli Study: Women Four Times More Likely to Die Than Men Following Emergency
Women who have suffered heart attacks and undergone emergency angioplasty are four
times more likely to die within a month than men, according to Israeli researchers. This
is a wake-up call for the 300,000 Americans who annually undergo the procedure, and may
trigger research that could change cardiovascular care for women.
A study conducted at the Rabin Medical Center over the last three years shows that
11.3% of women who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (otherwise known as
emergency angioplasty) following a heart attack die within a month - compared to 2.5% of
According to the head of the Israeli team, Prof. Ran Kronowsky - the head of the
Interventional Cardiology Department at Rabin - the study covered more than 250 patients -
56 of them women - over a three-year period. Kronowsky's colleague Dr. Hanna Vaknin-Asa
presented the study recently at a conference of the Israel Heart Association.
Angioplasty is also known as coronary artery balloon dilation, balloon angioplasty and
percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). During the procedure, a balloon is
inserted into the blocked artery through a catheter. The balloon is then inflated and
deflated to clear the obstructions, and two mesh tubes, or stents, are inserted to keep
the artery open. In recent years, it has become standard procedure to permanently place
the stent inside the heart artery where the blockage was. The stent holds the artery open
more widely and reduces the likelihood that the artery will renarrow in the same spot.
Previously, patients who were having heart attacks were treated with clot-busting drugs
to unclog blocked coronary arteries and restore normal blood flow. Emergency angioplasty
has been shown to be more effective than drugs in opening arteries and results in faster
"Angioplasty is thought of today as the treatment of choice for patients who arrive at
the hospital who are having a heart attack," said Kronowsky. "But the data from our study
is very surprising and very disturbing. It shows a tendency for higher mortality for women
in the hospital and in a month's range, the difference is four times higher for
"We were troubled by the findings - we're clearly not doing as well with women during
heart attacks and emergency angioplasty compared to men," he told ISRAEL21c. "We need to
think of how to improve the mortality rate and to arrive at equal results between the
The higher mortality rate for women heart attack victims is well documented by many
studies worldwide. Researchers have provided many possible explanations, including the
fact that women tend to suffer heart attacks at an older age than men, and that combined
with other ailments of the elderly make them more susceptible.
There have been studies focusing on the comparative outcome in heart attacks and on
outcomes of angioplasty. But according to Kronowsky, few studies have combined both -
patients with heart attacks who are admitted to the hospital and undergo catheterization
and making comparisons between the male and female patients. "There wasn't much data so we
decided to explore our own experience," said Kronowsky.
According to Kronowsky, a possible explanation for the higher mortality rate among
women who undergo angioplasty than men derives from the fact that the arteries around the
heart are smaller than men's and more difficult to operate on during the procedure.
"Angioplasty techniques need to be modified especially when facing patients who are
problematic due to small vessels which have become calcified. We saw much more of that
among elderly women as compared to men," he said, adding that the Rabin team intends to
continue studying the subject with a larger study in order to gather more data. "I hope
that the subject of women's heart attacks will be given a higher priority."
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