Newsletter : 4fax0820.txt
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DC Suburb Opens Trade Office in Israel
By Washington (D.C.) Business Journal
The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has opened an office in Tel Aviv, to
work with technology companies interested in expanding into the United States. Fairfax
County is the first U.S. county to open a marketing office in Israel. FCEDA President
Jerry Gordon says over 4,800 technology companies are located in the county and being near
the nation's capital make Fairfax County a natural location for expanding Israeli firms.
FCEDA has international locations in England, Germany, Japan and India.
Iran: Some Generals Favor Pre-emptive Strikes Against U.S., Israel
By VOA News & AFP
Iran said Thursday it is deeply concerned about the U.S. military presence in
neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, and said some Iranian generals favor pre-emptive strikes
against U.S. and Israeli forces if they sense an imminent threat. Iranian Defense Minister
Ali Shamkhani told al-Jazeera television that Tehran would not stand by idly if it
believed U.S. or Israeli forces were preparing an attack.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. troops in Iraq, said the
military has not changed the way it is operating in the region as a result of the Iranian
remarks. The comments came amid heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions over Iran's fledgling
Tehran said its first nuclear power station would generate electricity. But the Bush
administration said it suspects Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, and Israel
said it would not allow that to happen.
The Islamic state also warned Israel it would be responsible for the "terrifying
consequences" of any attempt to knock out the facilities, which it insists are solely for
peaceful purposes such as electricity generation. "We will not sit to wait for what others
will do to us," Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said in an interview with the
Qatar-based satellite broadcaster.
On Wednesday, Under Secretary of State John Bolton said the International Atomic Energy
Agency report should refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic
sanctions. He said the Islamic nation; a member of George W. Bush's "axis of evil" could
make enough bomb-grade material in 12 months to produce a nuclear weapon. "We cannot allow
Iran, a leading sponsor of international terrorism, to acquire nuclear weapons," he said.
But Shamkhani said: "Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive
operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly. "America is not the only
one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan; we
are present in the Gulf and we can be present in Iraq. "The U.S. military presence (in
Iraq) will not become an element of strength (for Washington) at our expense."
Asked about the possibility of a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran's atomic power plant in
Bushehr, he said: "We will consider any strike against our nuclear installations as an
attack on Iran as a whole, and we will retaliate with all our strength. "Where Israel is
concerned, we have no doubt that it is an evil entity, and it will not be able to launch
any military operation without an American green light. You cannot separate the two."
Earlier, a commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted in the Iranian
press as saying Tehran would strike the Israeli reactor at Dimona if Israel attacked the
Islamic republic's burgeoning nuclear facilities. "If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr
atomic power plant it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear center, where it
produces and keeps its nuclear weapons," General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr said. "Israel
would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move."
Iran's controversial bid to generate nuclear power at Bushehr is seen by the U.S. and
Israel as a cover for nuclear weapons development, and Tehran clearly fears a repeat of
Israel's missile strike against Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osirak in 1981.
Dimona, in the Negev desert, is allegedly where Israel produces weapons-grade plutonium
for its estimated 200 nuclear warheads. Israel has a policy of neither confirming nor
denying its nuclear program.
Sharon's Settler Withdrawal Plan Suffers Major Setback
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has suffered a major setback to his proposed withdrawal of
Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, after his Likud Party voted against forming a new
coalition government to push the plan forward. A majority of the members of Sharon's Likud
Party voted against inviting the opposition Labor Party to form a national unity
The vote, at the party convention in Tel Aviv, is non-binding and there is at least a
suggestion that it may still be possible for Sharon to go ahead with his plan to try to
bring Labor into the government. His proposal to begin that process was approved by a
large majority at a polling station reserved for Likud members of parliament and cabinet
ministers. These are the people who would actually vote in the parliament for a Labor
deal. Whether they would go against the wishes of the party majority and still support the
plan when a real parliament vote comes remains an open question.
In a speech before the convention vote, Wednesday night Mr. Sharon called for his
party's support. "There are moments in a nation's life when it has to make difficult
decisions." He asserted, "Israel has reached such a moment."
Sharon began negotiations with Labor, aimed at bringing them into his government, after
Likud lost its parliament majority in May. Sharon's chief opponent in Likud, Uzi Landau,
said the vote against the plan was not a rejection of the Likud Party, but, rather, of the
path the prime minister wanted to follow.
Palestinian Lawmakers Accuse Arafat of Stalling on Reforms
By VOA News
Palestinian lawmakers say Yasir Arafat is refusing to sign a package of anti-corruption
reforms demanded by parliament.
Lawmakers said Arafat spurned a committee of legislators who urged him to act on his
pledge to reform the Palestinian Authority. The reform proposals include giving the prime
minister authority to make changes at a dozen Palestinian security agencies widely seen as
corrupt and inefficient.
In a speech to lawmakers Wednesday, Arafat made a rare admission of mistakes, and said
he supports reforms. But he did not make any specific promises. Palestinian critics have
accused Arafat of stalling on the reforms, and have recently launched a series of
anti-Arafat protests in the Gaza Strip.
Israel's Judo Champion Wins a Bronze
Israeli judoka Arik Zeevi won Israel's first metal of the 2004 Olympic games Thursday
in Athens, Greece. Zeevi, Israel's Judo champion, lost a match earlier Thursday to an
opponent from South Korea - costing him the gold medal.
The South Korean took the gold medal at the end of the day. Zeevi went on to defeat
opponents from Cameroon and France in the semi-final and final of the secondary group,
taking the medal against a Dutch opponent and finishing the day with five wins and one
"I couldn't imagine this could really happen," Zeevi told Voice of Israel radio
following his win. "I tried to imagine how this would feel, but it does not compare."
Zeevi added that although he was under intense pressure to succeed on behalf of Israel, he
greatly appreciated the outpouring of support from his fellow Israelis.
Zeevi's bronze medal is the fifth in Israel's Olympic history. In 1992, Yael Arad and
Oren Smadja won silver and bronze medals respectively in the Judo competition, in 1996,
Gal Friedman won a bronze metal for windsurfing in and in 2000, Michael Kolganov won a
bronze medal for kayaking. Zeevi is the reigning European Judo champion and ranks second
place worldwide. He carried Israel's flag at the Olympics' opening ceremony.
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