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>Israel Faxx
>JN April 5, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 62

Shalom Approves Sellout to Arabs

By Arutz-7 News

Finance Minister Silvan Shalom signed a document authorizing the Chief Rabbis of Israel to sell the country's "chametz" leavened products to a non-Jewish resident of the Arab town of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem.

Shalom said at the ceremony that in previous years, he has just been responsible for burning his personal "chametz," and never thought that he would be a main participant in a ceremony selling the national chametz on the eve of Passover.

Israelis, Palestinians Meet in Athens

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli troops and Palestinian militants exchanged mortar fire in the Gaza Strip, while the two sides held high-level political talks in Athens.

After a day of violence in the Gaza Strip, top Israeli and Palestinian officials held their highest-level political meeting since the election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in February. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met with Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Shaath and negotiator Saeb Erekat in Athens, Greece.

Israel Radio reports a meeting is being planned between Israeli and Palestinian security chiefs, with U.S. Government representatives as mediators. The radio said Secretary of State Colin Powell arranged the talks following telephone conversations with Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Meanwhile, more clashes occurred in the Gaza Strip, with Israeli security forces shelling Palestinian militants, who had fired mortars on a Jewish settlement. A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces says it is the first time since the conflict began last September that it has used mortars.

Dozens of Jewish settlers held a protest in the Gaza Strip, a day after the Palestinian mortar fire critically injured a one-year-old boy and wounded his mother. Israel retaliated with helicopter gun ships, injuring 70 residents of the Gaza Strip.

Israelis Quietly Meet with Arafat

By VOA News

While Israeli and Palestinian officials resumed public contacts in Athens on Wednesday, a few Israelis have also been holding quiet meetings with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Wednesday, three left-wing members of the Israeli parliament met with Arafat in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank town of Ramallah. The three lawmakers - two from the Meretz Party, one from Labor - delivered a message to the Palestinian leader from Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. The contents of the message were not revealed.

Also, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon confirmed reports that the prime minister's son, Omri Sharon, met with Arafat on Sunday, also in Ramallah. No details on the meeting were released.

Israelis, Palestinians To Meet Wednesday Night

By VOA News

Israeli and Palestinian security officials will meet Wednesday night for hastily-scheduled talks at the home of U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk near Tel Aviv. Israeli officials say the meeting's purpose is to find a way to end to the violence that has rocked the region since last September.

But Palestinian minister Saeb Erakat says the Palestinians are seeking the implementation of past agreements that have yet to be carried out, particularly the understandings the parties reached at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik last October.

U.S. officials say the United States will be represented at the meetings but will play a limited role and that U.S. policy still holds that the parties should discuss issues directly without outside participation.

Palestinians Say Violence is Result of Occupation

By VOA News

In their final report to a commission examining the cause of Israeli-Palestinian violence, Palestinian leaders have said their people's uprising is a response to Israeli occupation.

The Palestinian report, released Wednesday, says the violence would end only when the Israelis ceased settlement activity in the areas Israel captured in the 1967 war.

The five-person fact-finding committee, led by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, visited the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel and listened to testimony from both Israelis and Palestinians. The commission is expected to release its own report on the causes of the violence sometime in the next couple of months

A Persimmon a Day...

By Arutz-7 News

Dr. Shela Gorinstein, a researcher at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy, joined researchers from Poland, Bulgaria and Spain in comparing the health benefits of apples to those of persimmons.

The scholars found that persimmons play a more significant role than apples in reducing the risk of heart disease, the number one cause of death in the West, as well as strokes.

Specifically, the researchers found that, as compared to apples, persimmons contain a significantly higher concentration of dietary fiber, minerals, polyphenols (anti-oxidants) and trace elements - all of which play a role in combating the clogging of arteries.

Previous research by the same group showed that persimmons improved the metabolism of lipids (fats) in rats. The results of the latest study were published in a recent issue of The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society.

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