Newsletter : 5fax0210.txt
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Forbes: Israeli Web Site "Best Innovation in Years"
Forbes magazine has termed Israeli startup GuruNet "the best Internet innovation in
years." The company's software enables users to click on any word on their screen -
whether in an e-mail, Word document, or even PDF file - to receive an instant pop-up box
full of relevant information. For example, clicking on the word "Intel" - or typing it in
- turns up a single page with a brief company history including pictures of the founders,
a company profile, annual sales, employees, office phone numbers, executive's names, stock
charts and recent news. The company is expected to announce an agreement with
search-engine Google, which started directing traffic toward GuruNet's answers.com last
week. GuruNet's Research-and-Development office is located in Jerusalem Technology Park,
Cautious Optimism Follows Latest Mideast Summit
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)
The ceremonies, speeches and handshakes are over. It's the "day-after" Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to end the violence, which
over the past four and a half years has left more than 4,000 people dead on both sides.
They seem intent on not raising expectations too high, as Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erekat made clear. "I think the Sharm el-Sheikh summit is a summit of beginnings>"
No one is talking about peace being just around the corner or about tackling the real
core issues of the decades old conflict. Both sides said they do want to get back to the
long-stalled road map peace plan but the immediate focus is on concrete steps. Saeb Erekat
said security was the key issue.
"We need to ensure the cessation of violence. Israel needs to reciprocate. And, I hope
that this will hold. If this holds, then we can move on all other issues and reaching the
stage where we see implementation of the road map in full, reaching a stage where we see
an end to Israeli occupation, that began in '67."
Israeli officials also said that making the cease-fire they agreed upon in Sharm
el-Sheikh hold is of primary concern. But, as senior government advisor and spokesman, Avi
Pazner explained, the Israelis want the Palestinians to go further to dismantle the
terrorist factions. "If we leave the terrorist factions armed and deployed as they are
now, it's only a question of time until violence will resume. So, Mahmoud Abbas will have
now his work cut out for him because he will have to see how to neutralize these
Abbas has gotten the terrorists to agree to an informal truce, or "calm" as some
militant leaders like to say. He is trying to coax them into the political fold but has
been treading carefully when it comes to the issue of disarming them. And, Palestinian
officials seem reluctant to focus on the issue. "We're taking small steps in a very long
road," described Saeb Erekat. "Let us focus on what we have in our hand. Let us focus now
on the cease-fire. We told them [the Israelis] and they told us that they will honor their
obligations, we'll honor our obligations and let's take it from there."
The Palestinians said they would make an all-out effort to ensure the cease-fire holds.
Sharon said he would press ahead with his plan to withdraw all Israeli settlements from
the Gaza Strip in the coming months. More immediately though, Israel said it would release
900 Palestinian prisoners in the coming weeks, withdraw its troops and hand over control
of five West Bank cities beginning with Jericho, dismantle checkpoints, ease Palestinian
travel and work restrictions and discuss rebuilding the Gaza seaport.
Pazner says these are important steps. "A whole series of concrete measures which are
both gestures of goodwill and an indication to the Palestinians that change has come and
that these changes are for the better."
Sharon Vows No Referendum on Pullout
A referendum on the disengagement plan is meant to prevent the pullout from taking
place, something that will not happen, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Ha'aretz. Speaking
in an angry, determined tone, Sharon said that MKs and other senior Likud activists are
facing a wave of threats that he intends to put to an end.
In what appeared to be a counter-attack against referendum supporters, Sharon said a
plebiscite would delay the disengagement for a year, which would constitute "an
intolerable waste of time." He added that "during that period, incitement would intensify,
and we would reach one of our most tense periods ever."
Sharon continued: "And let's assume for a moment that there is a referendum, and
supporters of disengagement come out to vote in favor, and the result is 65 to 35 percent
- would the 35 percent [against the disengagement] accept the majority? Would they help
out with the disengagement? Of course not. They will continue to incite even after a
referendum." The disengagement passed the Knesset without votes from the Arabs, he added.
"Doesn't that satisfy them?"
Sharon said a referendum would not only foil the disengagement, but also cause damage.
"The hatred and incitement will reach a climax during the period. We are going for a plan
that the Americans support, and it would be very grave if it is stopped," he said. "Do
they want a referendum? Let them bring it to the Knesset," adding that "they know it would
be defeated by a large majority in the Knesset. Nothing good can come of it. We are in the
midst of the process, and I'm determined to continue with it."
He said he is taking threats made against Likud MKs very seriously. "There are dozens
of people sitting in ministers' offices with their cellular phones, their faxes and their
emails, incessantly threatening MKs and their families that they will harm them. Anyone
giving in to those threats is doing something very grave indeed."
Sharon described the phenomenon as "a grave threat to democracy." He said that a young
MK complained to him that he was so afraid for his future and livelihood that he gave into
the threats. "Those making the calls are coming from outside the Likud, but also from
within," he said. "I will consider it very grave if we give in to them."
Sharon said he promised Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during the Sharm el-Sheikh
summit that he would increase the number of Palestinian prisoners with "blood on their
hands" that will be released if the disengagement passes smoothly. Releasing these
long-serving prisoners "with blood on their hands," is of "supreme importance" to the
Palestinians. "They say to you openly, we sent these people to carry out [attacks], and we
travel around the world and stay in hotels, and they support him [PA leader Mahmoud Abbas]
today. He told me simply that it is a major problem."
Jerusalem Marks Heroism, Tragedy of 'Italian Wallenberg'
The heroism and tragedy of an Italian police official who saved thousands of Jews from
Nazi extermination camps, only to be himself seized by the Gestapo and sent to die at
Dachau, is to be commemorated in ceremonies in Jerusalem this week, the 60th anniversary
of his death.
Trained as an attorney, Giovanni Palatucci was assigned to the Italian police
Department of Foreigners, documenting refugees in the occupied northeastern city of Fiume.
In the course of his work, he managed to destroy all documented records of the some 5,000
Jewish refugees living in the town, issuing them false papers, providing them funds, and
helping them flee to safety in Italy's unoccupied south. Palatucci sent the refugees to
his uncle, Giuseppe Maria Palatucci, the Catholic Bishop of Campania, who assisted them in
their journey south.
Palatucci's little-known efforts have been compared to those of Raoul Wallenberg, who
used his office as a Swedish diplomat to shield Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. At war's
end, Wallenberg was arrested by Soviet agents and was never seen again.
Arrested by the Gestapo secret police and shipped to Dachau, Palatucci died there on
Feb. 10, 1945 at the age of 36, just weeks before the concentration camp was liberated. In
a Thursday ceremony to be held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, the Italian police
commissioner will be presented a medal and certificate on behalf of Palatucci, recognizing
his sacrifice for Italian Jewry.
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