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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 last week. GuruNet's Research-and-Development office is located in Jerusalem Technology Park, Jerusalem.

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 organizations."

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

By Ha'aretz

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'

By Ha'aretz

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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