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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 1, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 75

Six Palestinians Killed Amid Truce Efforts

By VOA News

At least six more Palestinians have been killed as efforts to forge a truce between Israelis and Palestinians continued.

A vehicle explosion in Gaza City killed two men and wounded four other people. The circumstances are unclear. In southern Gaza, a bomb blast inside a Jewish settlement killed one Palestinian worker and wounded another. Elsewhere, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man while trying to arrest him during a raid near the West Bank town of Qalqilyah.

Late Monday, a powerful explosion leveled an apartment building in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Palestinian sources said the explosion killed two Palestinians including a child. The sources said at least three others were injured in the blast. It was not clear what caused the explosion in the apartment building which is across from Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's headquarters.

The violence came as Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was starting a visit to the United States to discuss an initiative by Egypt and Jordan to end seven months of bloodshed. A Palestinian leader involved in the uprising - West Bank Fatah head Marwan Barghouti - said the Palestinian people would not accept a cease-fire that does not immediately end the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In other developments, the military wing of Hamas said one of its members was responsible for a suicide bomb attack Sunday aimed at a bus of Jewish settlers near the West Bank city of Nablus. Only the bomber was killed, and no Israelis were hurt.

Mubarak: Palestinians Agreed Then Denied a Cease-Fire

By VOA News

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Israel and the Palestinians told him they had agreed in principle to a cease-fire, then later denied reaching an agreement.

Mubarak said he was surprised Sunday when Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat called him to say there was no agreement and Israeli officials said he was mistaken.

The Egyptian leader said he did not invent his statement that the two sides had reached an informal deal to return to peace talks after several weeks of calm. He made the statement in Cairo Sunday during a visit by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to discuss an Arab initiative to end months of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The foreign minister said Sunday that Israel would immediately ease restrictions on Palestinians. Among other measures, Israel said it would increase the number of permits issued for Palestinians to work in Israel.

Israel still wants some changes to the Egyptian-Jordanian confidence-building plan, while the Palestinians say it should be left unchanged. Palestinian officials accuse Israel of trying to evade agreements it has already made.

Life as an Anglo Immigrant IDF Reservist by Charlotte Halle (Courtesy of Ha'aretz & Anglo File)

Army reserve duty cuts into their jobs and studies, but Anglo immigrants take a stoic attitude

Steve Israel lives in dread of being called up for reserve duty in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) at a time that clashes with his work.

He is a free-lance Jewish educator, and his programs are often booked eight months or even a year in advance. When there is a clash, he feels torn - between his responsibility to his students and his obligation to serve in the army. Besides, a request for deferral of reserve duty is not always successful.

Israel's reserve duty (he serves in a medical unit) can mean leaving his wife alone with their four young sons for a two-week period. According to current regulations, Israel will continue to serve in his unit until the age of 51.

Although Israel, a former Londoner, describes his reserve duty as an "inconvenience," he is "not complaining," particularly when he compares himself to friends who serve more frequently or spend longer periods away from home. "We manage. We accept it as part of the price of living in Israel."

Making a real contribution is important to the Anglos interviewed by Anglo File. David Feuerstein, originally from Los Angeles, says his nine years as a combat medic contributed to his absorption into Israeli society and left him with some great friends. But as "someone who likes to be productive," he is often frustrated during his reserve duty, "sitting doing nothing" and is in the process of requesting a switch to the IDF Spokesman's Office, where he feels he will be "more useful" to the country.

Efrat resident and member of the Hagmar unit, which patrols the Gush Etzion area, David Kiel says he feels a duty and a "social pressure" to continue serving in the reserves, though many in his position - he is 44 and has six children - do not.

"It's a little different when you're serving in a unit composed of your friends and neighbors. Why should my neighbor do it instead of me, when he is in the same predicament?"

Living in a community with many immigrants who arrived in Israel when they were past army age, American-born Kiel said he "doesn't hold it against them," but described the situation as "unfair."

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