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Israel´s Aumann Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

By & VOA News

Hebrew University Prof. Robert J. Aumann is a co-winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Economics, for "enhancing our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis." The theory attempts to explain how people make strategic and mathematically-based decisions on matters ranging from trade disputes, crime, and wars to such mundane choices as theater seats. Aumann, a religious Jew who grew up in New York City and currently resides in Jerusalem, won the prestigious prize together with Prof. Thomas C. Schelling of the University of Maryland. The two established game theory as the dominant approach towards understanding conflict and cooperation between countries, individuals and organizations. They will share the $1.3 million prize.

Al-Qaeda Bases in Sinai


Al-Qaeda has built at least one base in Sinai, from where terrorists are sent to Gaza and from there to Israel. Egypt has done nothing to stop it, said IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Ze'evi-Farkash. He told the Cabinet ministers at their weekly meeting that a gang of the international terrorist organization Al-Qaeda recently took over a large area in the Sinai Peninsula.

After banishing the residents, they placed mines around their new base - signaling Egyptian police and army forces not to come near. Activities at the base include the training of terrorists and preparations for sending them to Gaza, from where they can more easily enter Israel to perpetrate attacks. Almost a month ago, Mahmoud A-Zahar, regional head of Hamas, told the Italian newspaper "Corriere de La Sierra" that several Al-Qaeda terrorists had already crossed into Gaza.

Farkash said that in the days and weeks following Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, Al-Qaeda sent large amounts of weapons and many terrorists into Gaza, with the purpose of strengthening the terrorist infrastructure there. Among the weapons smuggled in are shoulder-launched missiles, long-range Katyusha rockets, and tremendous amounts of automatic rifles and bullets. It is even reported that a new Kassam rocket has been introduced into the Gaza arsenal, one that explodes in mid-air, releasing lethal falling shrapnel even if it misses its essential target.

The Intelligence Chief said that Egypt is refraining from taking action against the new terrorists. He said Egypt fears that a direct clash with Al-Qaeda will lead to terror attacks against Egypt itself. Other reports are that Egypt cannot take massive military action in the demilitarized desert without Israeli permission - something it does not wish to request.

Farkash's report jibes with other accounts. A recent article in The Jordan Times cites reports to the effect that Al-Qaeda has set up makeshift camps in Sinai's rough terrain and inaccessible peaks just as it did in Afghanistan's Tora Bora Mountains. Debkafile, which reported on Al-Qaeda's presence in Sinai a week ago, said that Egyptian forces basically control only the perimeter of Sinai, while up to half of the interior is exclusively Al-Qaeda-land.

The Anti-Terrorism Task Force, under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office, has not withdrawn its warning against travel to Sinai, issued in light of "specific and well-based intelligence" indicating plans to kidnap vacationing Israelis there.

Gen. Ze'evi-Farkash told the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies last week that Al-Qaeda terrorists had entered Gaza from Egypt following Israel's withdrawal, though he did not emphasize their presence in the Sinai. The general also said that during the 10 days after the withdrawal, Palestinian terrorist groups brought in 3,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 300 rocket-propelled grenades, 1.5 million rounds of ammunition and an undetermined number of anti-tank rockets and surface-to-air missiles from Sinai.

Israeli-Palestinian Summit Postponed

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have postponed a summit scheduled for Tuesday between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Both sides say the summit will likely take place later this month or in early November.

After several days of talks, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators failed to reach a deal on a common agenda for Tuesday's summit. Had the meeting gone ahead, it would have been the first time Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas had met since Israel's unilateral pullout from the Gaza Strip.

A joint statement says the two sides would continue committee meetings aimed at resolving disputes. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Palestinian Authority negotiators were seeking the release of about 20 prisoners who have been in Israeli custody for more than 20 years, as well as an Israeli troop pullback from four West Bank cities, beginning in Bethlehem.

Ghassan Khatib, the Palestinian Authority minister of planning, told a local radio station that more time is needed before any summit can take place. Khatib said that without a specific result coming out of the talks, there was no necessity for the summit to proceed.

In recent days, senior Israeli government officials have said they would not release any Palestinian prisoners, who, in their words, have blood on their hands. Israeli officials also said Palestinian security officials have to do more to restrain militant Palestinians in West Bank towns they have agreed to withdraw from.

Raanan Gissin is a senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "If they [the Palestinian Authority] do not take steps to move forward, all these [Israeli] gestures will be in vain. Not only will they be in vain, they will serve Hamas, which is the major threat that Abu Mazen is facing today."

Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) travels to the United States for a meeting with President Bush on Oct. 20. Israeli officials said they hope, by the time he returns, progress can be made in talks for a summit to take place.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops shot and killed three Palestinian men early Monday near the Gaza border. Israeli troops said the men were crawling near a fence and ignored orders to halt. Israeli officials also announced an easing of travel restrictions on Palestinians during the month of Ramadan. The measures are designed to allow more Palestinians to travel to Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem for religious observances.

Shin Bet Nabs 117 Hamas Members in West Bank

By Ha'aretz

The Shin Bet security service has recently uncovered three Hamas networks in the West Bank that are suspected of responsibility for a series of terror attacks over the past two months, the Shin Bet said Monday.

The security service arrested 117 Hamas members suspected of involvement in the three networks, which the Shin Bet says are located in the Ramallah area, north of Hebron and southwest of Hebron. Two of the terror attacks were carried out in the last few months in violation of the official commitment undertaken by Hamas in February to maintain "calm" in the territories.

Senior Shin Bet officials said Monday that while Hamas has continued to carry out attacks, in general the group has avoided taking responsibility for them because it realizes Palestinian public opinion objects to them and it does not want to come into direct conflict with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. "At present we do not see any willingness on the part of the PA to enter into conflict with the terror organizations," the Shin Bet said. "They talk about the strategy of [preventing terror without a direct struggle]. Therefore, we must continue with our arrests."

Intelligence information received in recent weeks about the three terror rings led the Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces to recommend that Israel change its policy toward Hamas. Israel had avoided arresting Hamas activists in consideration of the "calm," and has focused on the struggle against the Islamic Jihad, which had announced its opposition to the calm. But security forces have now carried out several arrest raids, netting hundreds of Hamas members.

The security forces arrested 23 members of one network believed responsible for the abduction and murder of Sasson Nuriel on September 21. The two men who kidnapped Nuriel had apparently worked in his candy factory in Mishor Adumim. The pair lured Nuriel to the village of a-Ram, north of Jerusalem, ostensibly to buy a coffee machine. On the way to the village, they abducted him at gunpoint. Nuriel was taken to an apartment in Ramallah and videotaped making a coerced statement there. The initial plan was to exchange him for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, but shortly after abducting Nuriel, his captors panicked and led him to the garbage dump in the village Betunia, west of Ramallah, where they stabbed him to death.

Investigators said that the key figure in the network is Yasser Salah, a Ramallah resident who joined Hamas about two years ago while he was a student in Egypt. About a year and a half ago, Salah's handler, Muhammad Turaya, from Gaza, directed him to return to Ramallah to establish a Hamas foothold there, and gave him money. Salah, who was apprehended during the last round of arrests, is son of the Ramallah police chief. The Shin Bet believe Salah's father was unaware of his son's activities.

Hamas recently sent a female explosives instructor, Samar Sabih, from the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, to Tul Karm. The members of Salah's network initially carried out shooting attacks, but asked to carry out suicide attacks as well. They had also made plans to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians to hold as hostages in negotiations for the release of Palestinian prisoners. Suspects told their interrogators that they were planning to kidnap an Israeli officer involved in drug dealings with the Palestinians. The security services have not yet found out the identity of the officer.

Thirty-five members of another network from Dahariya, south of Hebron, were also arrested. The Dahariya network is believed to be responsible for the shooting and grenade attack on Southern Command headquarters in Be'er Sheva in 2002 in which two women soldiers were killed, and a shooting attack two years later on the seam line south of Hebron, in which a couple from southern Israel was killed.

The Dahariya network went underground for long periods following each attack, which made it difficult for the Shin Bet to uncover it. In August, the network sent Abdel Rakhman Kaisiya, 19, on a suicide mission to the Be'er Sheva central bus station. After two security guards stopped him, Kaisiya blew himself up, seriously injuring the guards. Network members had 10 more large explosive charges in their possession when they were arrested.

Fifty-nine members of a network centered in Shuyukh, north of Hebron, were also arrested in the latest sweep. Some of those arrested were affiliated with Hamas' civilian framework. The Shuyukh network is believed responsible for a number of shootings and one bomb attack north of Hebron, with no injuries. According to the Shin Bet, the network had been planning to attack a military jeep, shoot its occupants to death, and hold their bodies hostage in negotiations for prisoner releases. They had also planned to blow up an Israel Air Force helicopter on maneuvers in the Judean desert.

Jews From Ethiopia Suffer High Levels of Diabetes


Approximately 17% of Jews of Ethiopian background in Israel suffer from diabetes, a condition that was relatively rare among the community in the Diaspora. In addition, the radical changes in food consumption and lifestyle between Israel and Ethiopia have led to increased blood pressure and other chronic ailments among the immigrants.

As a result, the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera has begun a project to increase awareness of diabetes among the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel. The project provides information about testing, prevention and living with the disease. Hillel Yaffe spokespeople said that the response among the Ethiopian Jewish immigrants is very good and will help in preventing the continued rise in cases of diabetes.

The Hillel Yaffe project is named Tene Briut, which is a play on words in Hebrew and Amharic. Tene in Amharic is health, as is briut in Hebrew; while briut in Amharic is the name for a basket in which Ethiopian girls carry their valuables.

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