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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 29, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 149

Body of Missing Hiker Discovered Near Arad

By IsraelWire

The body of 32-year-old Gila Levy, who was missing for about 10 days, was discovered Friday near Mitzpei Moab, in the Arad region. Police report that Levy apparently fell while hiking in the area, then died as a result of dehydration. Police from the Arad District working with members of the local search & rescue unit, sent Levy's body to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute where pathologists hope to determine the cause of death.

Arafat Kicks Off Jerusalem Conference

By Arutz-7 News Service

Sixteen Arab foreign ministers and the King of Morocco convened Monday in Agadir, Morocco, for what is being dubbed, "The Jerusalem Conference."

Yasir Arafat asked the Islamic Council, which organized the event, to come out with a position that either limits his diplomatic flexibility or provides him with a green light to continue negotiating with Israel.

Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami said at an afternoon press conference in Paris that conditions are not yet ripe for another summit, but repeated his claim that gaps between the two sides have closed. "We are on the verge of a final-status agreement," he asserted, but added that Israel "cannot afford to be more flexible."

Arutz-7's Ariel Kahane reports that the Israeli Foreign Ministry believes that Arafat wishes to see the foreign ministers take a rigid stance, and that such a development would allow Arafat to shift responsibility for the breakdown in negotiations with Israel, to the Arab states.

In case the foreign ministers were unclear about his position, Arafat opened the conference by delivering a fiery speech outlining his political philosophy. He told the audience that Jerusalem and its holy sites "belong to the Palestinians or the Christians," and added that there is no foundation for Jewish claims to the Temple Mount. Arafat also complained that "the Jews are trying to steal holy Islamic property by establishing a synagogue on the site."

According to the PLO chief, although the Palestinians "have already made a number of concessions to Israel," they would never agree to forfeit their claims to Jerusalem holy sites. "This is a red line from which we will never retreat," he thundered. "We will never give up on the Temple Mount or Jerusalem."

Arafat also demanded that Israel retreat to the pre-1967 borders, "just it did in Lebanon and in the Sinai Desert."

Arms Cache Discovered in Israeli Arab Village

By Arutz-7 News Service

West Bank Arabs are not alone in their quest to amass large caches of arms. A raid by Israel police Monday uncovered a major arms reserve in a raid on a house in the Arab village of Kfar Abu Snan in the western Galilee.

Police confiscated mortar shells, a rocket launcher, magazines, thousands of bullets, and three automatic weapons. Six suspects were arrested for stealing and storing IDF ammunition. Among those detained were an army tracker and another soldier who serves in an elite undercover IDF unit. The police suspect that the weapons were designated for use in internal village clashes that are expected to precede village elections.

Exercise Evaluates Non-Conventional Warfare

By IsraelWire

The IDF's Home Front Command this week will be conducting a large training exercise to evaluate the level of readiness of non-combat forces responsible for responding to a non-conventional warfare attack.

For the first time ever, the IDF will evaluate the performance of personnel responsible for gas mask distribution centers, gas mask and adjunct supplies inventory, and the military's ability to swing into action if the need arises without warning. The warehouses are responsible for ensuring that all Israelis, students and tourists, are furnished with working gas masks in the event of an alert or actual attack.

The exercise began Monday and continues through Wednesday. Home Front officials have indicated that such an exercise will be an annual event.

The Desert Blooms

By Arutz-7 News Service

"Greening the desert" through genetic engineering of trees that can withstand barren conditions is within reach, according to Prof. Arie Altman, head of the Institute of Plant Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Scientists at the institute have succeeded in isolating unique proteins within the poplar tree that can preserve the activities of the tree's cells in the dry and saline conditions typical of deserts.

Altman and his associates have found that stimulating higher production of the proteins in the tree seedlings can help the trees withstand severe conditions. The research is seen as particularly significant given the forecasts of steadily increasing desertification of the earth's surface. It is estimated that within a few years, more than 60 percent of all irrigation water in Israel will become saline.

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