Newsletter : 4fax1223.txt
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3 Palestinians, 1 Israeli Killed in Continuing Violence
By VOA News
Three Palestinians and an Israeli have been killed in continuing Middle East violence.
Israeli officials said Palestinian gunmen Wednesday shot dead an Israeli civilian west of
the city of Hebron. Officials said the Israeli man was working on the barrier that the
Jewish state is building inside the West Bank. Also Wednesday, Israeli troops shot and
killed three Palestinians in different parts of the Gaza Strip. The death of Yasir Arafat
last month brought new hopes for peace in the region. However, while the violence has
decreased, it has not stopped
Israeli Arabs Planned Suicide-Bombing ´Honeymoon´
The new Sbarro's restaurant on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road was targeted by an Israeli Arab
couple whose plans to blow themselves up there following their wedding were thwarted by
Israeli security forces. It was released for publication Wednesday that the GSS recently
arrested a resident of eastern Jerusalem suspected of planning to carry out a suicide
bombing together with his 16-year-old bride-to-be. The date of the scheduled attack was
put off until after their wedding.
Ahmed Gazawi, an Israeli-Arab resident of the mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of
Abu-Tor, was recruited by Hamas handlers from Hebron who planned on using him to carry out
an attack in Jerusalem. The same Hamas cell carried out the double suicide bombing in
Be'er Sheva on August 31.
Gazawi was in the midst of gathering intelligence in order to carry out an attack on
the Sbarro's pizzeria, a restaurant whose former location was the scene of a bloody
massacre. He convinced his fiancée, only 16 years old, to carry out the attack
together with him. During the course of the investigation it was revealed that Gazawi had
friendly relations with Moutzab Hashlamoun, a Hamas handler from Hebron. They studied
together at Abu-Dis University.
Half a year ago, Gazawi told Hashlamoun he wanted to carry out a suicide bombing in
Jerusalem. The Hamas handler agreed and began to direct Gazawi on how to make his way,
with a bomb, to a target, and how to maximize the number murdered.
Gazawi enjoys the benefits of Israeli citizenship, including an Israeli ID card. Using
that ID card, he began surveying downtown Jerusalem's streets for targets. He visited
Jaffa Road and chose the newly relocated Sbarro's pizzeria as his favored target. Sbarro's
has become a symbol of the brutality of terrorist bombings after a particularly gruesome
attack in August 2001. Hashlamoun then had Gazawi obtain chemicals and transfer them to
Hamas bomb-makers in Hebron to construct bomb-belts.
Gazawi, though, decided not to do the attack alone. He approached his new
fiancée, also from Abu Tor, who agreed to join him in carrying out the mass murder.
In the end, Gazawi decided to postpone the attack until after the wedding. He told this to
Hashlamoun, who was in the midst of planning the attack in Be'er Sheva that killed 16
Israelis. On December 15, Gazawi was arrested and handed over to the GSS for
Head of Germany's Jews Criticizes Immigration Row
The head of Germany's Central Council of Jews has criticized the tone of a debate
sparked by plans to tighten immigration laws for Eastern European Jews, saying it assumes
Jewish migrants have overrun Germany. "The discussion comes across to the public as if
Germany has been swamped by Jewish immigrants," Paul Spiegel told Reuters in an interview
on Wednesday. "Since 1989 around 190,000 Jews have moved to Germany, and it is unlikely a
further 100,000 will come," he added.
Germany has offered unlimited immigration to Jews from the former Soviet bloc since
1991, in an attempt to rebuild its own Jewish communities, devastated by the country's
Nazi regime. In recent years the country has attracted almost as many Jews as Israel but
now the Interior Ministry is considering restrictions. According to newspaper reports
those allowed to settle in Germany in future will have to be under 45, able to speak
German and to support themselves financially.
Spiegel said the heated debate on the issue bore no relation to the actual number of
immigrants in Germany. "If you compare how many Jews were murdered during the Holocaust
with how many have arrived and are likely to come, then the figures speak for themselves."
Six million European Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
Today there are around 100,000 officially registered Jews living in Germany, but many
others have not joined communities and so do not appear in official statistics. Spiegel
said he understood many of Germany's concerns on immigration, including those relating to
welfare payments. "I also understand why Israel, a country modeled on immigration, worries
that more Jews have moved to Germany recently than to Israel," he added.
When Germany first announced its policy in 1991 many in Israel criticized it, for
drawing away potential migrants. Spiegel said the Central Council of Jews had not been
consulted early enough on changes to the laws, and he stressed they should not be applied
to prospective immigrants who had already been granted residency. Interior Minister Otto
Schily said in a statement on Wednesday reforms would only take place in consultation with
The Berliner Zeitung reported last weekend that round 9,400 former-Soviet Jews were
expected to come to Germany this year, exceeding the number settling in Israel by more
than 1,000 for the first time. The newspaper also said Berlin's Jewish Community was under
financial pressure because more than three-quarters of immigrant Jews were reliant on
Tourism to Israel is Up
Tourism to Israel continues to rise. In the first 11 months of this year, 1.358 million
tourists entered the country - a 44% increase over the same period last year. Tourism
this year is also 76% higher than during the first 11 months of 2002.
The number of tourists who entered by land is almost 150,000, which is practically
double the amount of last year. Those who flew directly from abroad to Eilat numbered
36,500, over 50% more than in Jan.-Nov. 2003. Tourism to Israel in November 2004 was
equal to that of November 2000, which was a record-breaking year for Israeli tourism.
Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra says that the goal for 2005 is to reach 1.7 million
visitors - and that budgetary funding for his ministry had better be proportionate to this
Negev To Bloom With Trains
Israel Railways, in a modern expression of David Ben-Gurion's vision of a blooming
Negev desert, has announced a 7.5 billion shekel ($1.7 billion) program to connect Negev
cities with Ashkelon.
The Be'er Sheva-Tel Aviv route is the only passenger service operating in the south,
and the plan would connect the "capital of the Negev" with the development cities of
Sderot and Netivot and with Ashkelon. Israel Railways chairman Moshe Leon revealed the
investment program at last week's Herzilya Conference on national security and
The addition of the development towns also would bring train service much closer to the
dozens of kibbutzim and moshavim in the area. Israel Railways also runs freight trains to
Be'er Sheva for chemical companies operating in the Dimona and Dead Sea area.
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