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Newsletter : 5fax0308.txt

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600,000 Migrating Storks Flying Over Israel


This week, Israeli ornithologists of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Kfar Rupin, in the north of the country, spotted the first storks returning from their migration to tropical countries south of Israel. The storks, which fly over Israel during autumn months as they fly south, are now crossing through Israel's skies as spring begins. The birds are heading toward Europe. In the next few days many more flocks of the birds are expected to fly over the Jewish State. 600,000 storks are expected to grace skies above Israel before the end of April.

West Bank Shooting Threatens Fragile Israeli-Palestinian Ceasefire

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an Israeli military post, near a religious shrine in the West Bank city, Hebron, Monday, wounding two border policemen and threatening a fragile Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire. The army said the gunmen opened fire at troops guarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a shrine revered by both Muslims and Jews.

Witnesses said gunmen fired dozens of shots in Monday's attack. Three weeks ago in the city, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian who the army said tried to stab a soldier. Hebron is often a flash point for violence. Some 400 to 500 Jewish settlers, protected by Israeli soldiers, live among a Palestinian population in the city of some 120,000. The attack threatens a fragile ceasefire agreed to last month between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, at a meeting in the Egyptian Red Sea resort, Sharm el Sheikh.

Israel has been calling on Abbas to crackdown on those militant groups who do not abide by the ceasefire. For his part, Abbas has said a promised Israeli pullback from Palestinian cities in the West Bank would be vital in his efforts to restore calm. Abbas is expected to meet Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to discuss the possible handover of West Bank towns. Some Palestinian officials also said Israel would hand over Tulkarem, Tuesday, removing most, if not all the checkpoints around the town.

Galilee Arab Arrested in Plot to Attack the Knesset


A 20-year old Arab from the Western Galilee was arrested on the Temple Mount three weeks ago by the Shin Bet (Israel's domestic intelligence service) and the police for planning to carry out an attack in the Knesset.

The man was seized after he had applied for a job as a construction worker in the Knesset and after having preparing the explosives for carrying out the attack. The suspect apparently learned how to prepare the explosives from the Internet. The suspect made contact with the building contractor who lived in the same village and tried to enlist his help in planning the attack. According to the police, the suspect had intended to measure the thickness of walls in the building in order to prepare the attack.

Police and security officials suspect that the Galilee Arab also tried to enlist other Arab youths from his village to carry out two other attacks: kidnapping and seizing the weapon of a soldier living in another town and attacking an IDF base in the north. Commander of the Galilee police, Danny Hadad said that the suspect bought materials for putting together bombs and started experimenting with them. "One successful experiment caused a small explosion and damage to his home." Some of the materials the suspect used to prepare his bombs were mercury and filament that he extracted from light bulbs.

A Knesset spokesman said that about 200 workers are employed on construction site for the Knesset's new wing, including Israeli Arabs. The spokesman said that all workers are investigated before being hired. Although the suspected was arrested on Feb. 13, news of the story broke Monday only after a court in Akko lifted a gag order barring publication of the incident.

Another Israeli Arab, from a neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, has also been arrested on suspicion that he was to take part in an attack on the Knesset. The Jerusalem Arab denied the charges and said that he is being accused because he spoke with someone "suspicious" on the Temple Mount.

PA Media Glorify Bomber of Tel Aviv Night Club


While PA leader Mahmoud Abbas issues tersely worded condemnations of the Feb. 25th suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv night club, the PA news media has been glorifying the memory of the bomber, Abdalla Badran, calling him a "shahid," a martyr, a person who died for the highest ideals of Islam. Taking a page right out of Arafat's book, Abbas has been projecting a moderate, pragmatic image abroad while the PA's state-controlled media depicts the suicide bomber as a hero fighting for Allah.

The daily newspaper, Al-Ayyam, for example called Badran's family, "the family of the Shahid" and the bomber an "istish-shahid" a shahid who sought death for Allah and succeeded. Another paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jedida, printed a giant color photo of the terrorist on the front page with a caption calling him the "Executor of the Tel Aviv Operation", a caption more appropriate for a fighter carrying out a daring commando raid behind enemy lines than for a terrorist who killed five innocent people at a birthday party.

IDF Troops Receive Real-Time Surveillance Footage on Their Wristwatch


IDF troops are now equipped with video watches that can display images shot by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), giving soldiers a full view of areas where they are operating.

The screens are about three inches (7.5 cm) wide, and weigh just a few ounces. The LCD screens display color video beamed in real time directly from the UAVs. "We are living out what we have seen in science fiction movies," said Yitzhak Beni, chief executive of Tadiran Electronic Systems, who designed the devices.

The communications system has shortened the amount of time it takes security forced to identify and strike a terrorist target. "Before it was 10 to 12 minutes, now it's a matter of seconds," Beni said.

Last Chance to Hunt Down Nazi War Criminals


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is willing to pay 15,000 Euros for information leading to the capture of Nazi war criminals---before it's too late to bring them to justice. "Last Chance" is what the center is calling its latest, and possibly last drive to locate and capture Nazi war criminals that were involved in the slaughter of six million Jews during World War II.

The center, headed by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, noted that since the fall of communism in Romania in 1989, not one Nazi living in or taking up refuge in that country has been prosecuted, perhaps because of the government's denials that its citizens had been involved in war crimes during World War II. Last week, the center announced that it had new, substantive information regarding 15 people who had participated in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. The Romanian government has already started investigation four of the new files.

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