Newsletter : 1fax0406.txt
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>JN April 6, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 63
Palestinians Fire Shells Into Israel
By VOA News
Palestinians fired mortar shells into Israeli territory late
Thursday as violence in the region continued to escalate. The
shells landed near Netiv Haasara, a Jewish village close to the
border of the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported.
Earlier in the day, the two sides traded charges over who fired
first in a shooting incident involving a convoy of Palestinian
security officials. The incident happened overnight at the Erez
crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip, as the
Palestinians returned from talks with Israel about reducing
violence. Three Palestinians were injured in the incident. A clash
between Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing youths in Gaza also
killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.
Meanwhile, Palestinians denounced an Israeli government plan to
build 700 new houses for Jewish settlers in the West Bank
settlements of Maale Adumim and Alfei Menashe. The European Union
said all settlement activities are illegal and constitute an
obstacle to peace, while the United States called the move
provocative and inflammatory.
Explosion Kills Palestinian Activist
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
A member of the militant Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, was
killed Thursday when a booby-trap in a public telephone booth he
was standing in exploded. Officials of the organization blamed
Israel for his death and vowed to retaliate. The Israeli army said
it was still checking the facts about the case.
Iyad al-Hardan, 25, had gone to use the telephone after leaving
his cell in a Palestinian prison in the West Bank town of Jenin. He
died when a bomb in the public phone booth exploded killing him,
and reportedly startling Palestinian guards who had been preparing
to escort him back to jail. Some Palestinian officials have blamed
the explosion on Israel, calling it an assassination.
Israel had accused Hardan of masterminding several bombings,
including the 1998 bombing of Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda outdoor
market. He is the second member of the Islamic Jihad to be killed
this week. Another activist was slain in an Israeli helicopter
attack Monday in the Gaza Strip.
The Islamic Jihad is opposed to any peace negotiations with Israel
and in recent years has been behind a campaign of terrorist
attacks, including suicide bombings, in the Jewish state.
Israeli Soldiers Accused of Firing on Palestinian Convoy
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli soldiers fired on a convoy carrying three top Palestinian
security officials back to Gaza from talks near Tel Aviv. The
incident threatens to undermine tentative efforts between the two
sides to reduce the level of violence and resume peace
Palestinian officials said they were deliberately targeted, but the
Israeli army rejected this allegation. It said the soldiers at the
Erez border crossing at Gaza thought they heard gunfire coming from
a jeep in the convoy.
The Palestinian officials had been returning from a meeting with
their Israeli counterparts at the home of U.S. Ambassador Martin
Indyk near Tel Aviv. A CIA representative was also present and it
was agreed another meeting would be held next week.
Israeli army spokesman Lt. Olivier Rafowicz said a preliminary
investigation found that the soldiers had been fired upon from a
jeep in the Palestinian convoy. He said that it was absurd to
suggest Israel would deliberately target Palestinian security
officials after a high-level meeting.
American Jews Follow European Passover Tradition
By Andrew J. Baroch (VOA-Washington)
Pesach, Passover in English, which begins at sundown Saturday, is
an eight-day Jewish festival commemorating the Exodus of Israelites
from Egypt after their liberation from slavery more than 3,000
The Passover seder is rich with symbolism The story of the Exodus
is told at the seder, a ceremonial dinner for family and friends.
Seder is a Hebrew word for sequence or order, and it refers to the
traditional sequence of events in the evening-long ritual, such as
sampling matzah [unleavened bread] and morar, a very bitter kind of
horseradish. Both symbolize the slavery of the ancient Israelites.
Participants at a seder traditionally read the Haggadah, which is
the Hebrew word for "narrative." The Haggadah, which retells the
story of the Exodus from Egypt, was first used more than 2,000
Michael Feldberg, the executive director of the American Jewish
Historical Society in New York City, said Jewish immigrants from
Spain introduced the seder ritual to North America in the 1620s and
that later European immigration kept the tradition alive.
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