Newsletter : 5fax0302.txt
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German Bank Buys Large Share of Bank Leumi
A German bank purchased a 10% stake in Bank Leumi Tuesday. Deutsche Bank beat the bids
of six other investment companies and will pay $415.3 million for 92 million shares. The
German bank is also receiving an option to buy another 49.5 million shares. The sale is
part of Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's overall plan to privatize all
government-owned companies. The move reduces Israel's portion of the bank to 26 percent.
And in other Middle Eastern news, Russia is expected to authorize the sale of various
weapons to the Palestinian Authority. Among the weapons to be sold to the PA are armored
Rice: Syria-Based Terror Group Planned Tel Aviv Attack
By ABC News
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said
Tuesday that the United States has "firm evidence" that last week's deadly suicide bombing
in Tel Aviv was planned and coordinated from within Syrian territory by Islamic Jihad.
Until now, U.S. officials have not directly linked the attack to Syria, pointing instead
to the supportive climate provided by the Syrians to Palestinian terrorist groups based
She told ABC, "There is firm evidence that Palestinian Islamic Jihad sitting in
Damascus not only knew about these attacks, but was involved in the planning." Rice also
said the United States would be "prepared to talk with others; with the Israelis, with the
Palestinians, with others in the region about this."
Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for last Friday's attack that killed five
Israelis and wounded more than 50 others. The attack had caused concerns it could derail
the newly renewed peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Shortly
after the attack, Palestinian security officials blamed "a third party" for the attack, a
veiled reference to Syria, which allows Islamic Jihad to operate from its territory. But,
they had not directly said what evidence they had to prove that claim.
Rice told ABC News that though the extent of Syrian involvement in planning the attack
is unknown, "Syria needs to be more accountable." Stepping up the heat on Syria, she
added, "the Syrians have a lot to answer for" and need to be more active in fighting
"Palestinian rejectionists, if indeed they want to support the peace process as they say
they do. What we need is for Syria to take its obligations not to support terrorism."
Rice would not respond to the question of whether the United States would tolerate a
unilateral Israeli strike on Syria, saying, "I don't think that's a question we should
even consider." But she added, "The Syrians know what they need to do."
Palestinian Conference Ends with Pledges of Support
By Michael Drudge (VOA-London) & IsraelNationalNews.com
An international conference on Palestinian reforms has ended in London with the
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledging to implement tighter security and better
government in a bid to win new negotiations with Israel. The London conference has
generated new international support for Abbas to clean up the corruption and ineffective
rule that plagued the Palestinian Authority under Yasir Arafat.
Senior officials from 23 countries and six international organizations have thrown
their weight behind a Palestinian work plan to overhaul the Palestinians' government,
economy and security forces. The host of the conference, British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, said if the goals are reached, and if Israel and the Palestinians can revive peace
negotiations, it will make the world a safer place.
"Much of the poison that we want to take out of international relations has swirled
around as a result of the failure to make progress on this issue," said Blair. "The
benefit, if we are able to succeed, will not just be felt by the Palestinian people or the
Israelis, vital and primary though that is, it will be felt by all of us."
The Quartet of countries sponsoring the road map peace plan said that Israel and the
Palestinian Authority should hold direct talks and negotiations to push the peace process
forward. The remarks were made at the summation of a conference on terror -- a conference
to which Israel was not invited. The group also insisted that a new Palestinian state must
be "truly viable" and not consist of scattered territories. The spokesman for the parties
did not explain how it would be possible to have a contiguous Palestinian state without
breaking up the territorial continuity of the state of Israel.
Former Prime Minister's Bureau Head: 'Sharon is a- Existential Danger' to Israel
Yossi Ben-Aharon, former head of Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir's Bureau, said that
Likud Knesset members should be worried not about the disengagement referendum, but rather
about deposing Ariel Sharon. Ben-Aharon told Arutz-7 that Sharon's disengagement plan is
"more dangerous than the Oslo Accords," because it is merely his first stage in his plan
to establish a Palestinian state. He added that like the late Yitzchak Rabin before him,
Ben-Aharon views a Palestinian state as something that Israel cannot agree to or
Sharon and his aide Dov Weisglass "used all sorts of tricks and deception to implement
this plan," Ben-Aharon said. "Sharon is an existential danger to the State of Israel. If
he sees that his plan is succeeding, he will continue with more. I have decided to start a
daily campaign to call on Likud members, wherever and whenever possible, to depose Sharon
as head of the party," Ben-Aharon said. "Sharon has violated the party's constitution, and
plans to establish a Palestinian state in the heart of the country."
Ilan Ramon's Diary, Including Kiddush, Found
Israeli scientists have pieced together late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon's flight
diary from recently recovered charred remains. The remains of the diary survived the fiery
breakup of the Columbia space shuttle, the 38-mile fall to Earth and two months of sun and
rain in a field in Texas. Ramon and six other astronauts were killed when their
spacecraft, which was on its way back to Earth following a two-week shuttle to outer
space, caught fire and crashed. Much of the world was plunged into mourning over the
Eight months before the flight, the astronauts were asked to make a list of personal
items they would like to take into space. Ramon chose the following: A drawing of Earth
as it might look from the moon, drawn by a boy who died in Auschwitz shortly before the
end of the war. This, because his mother was an Auschwitz survivor.
As a representative of the State of Israel, he took along a Presidential pennant, as
well as flags of the Israel air force, the two cities in which he lived - Be'er Sheva and
Ramat Gan - and the high school in which he studied. He hung a mezuzah on one of the
doors in the spacecraft. He also took silver "hand" used for reading from the Torah, a
Kiddush cup used on the Sabbath, and a Book of Psalms. In addition, at every press
conference he would proudly say, II am an emissary of Zionism and the Jewish People."
Israeli forensic scientists analyzing the remnants used image-enhancement software and
infrared light to read the diary after piecing many of the segments together. Israeli
police examiner Sharon Brown, who specializes in recovering documents, marveled at the
fact that the cardboard-bound notebook had survived at all. "You know what a lit match
could do to that pile of paper?" she told a meeting of forensic scientists in Louisiana
this week. One of the pages that survived included the carefully copied words of Kiddush,
the Sabbath blessing over wine that Ramon recited in outer space.
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