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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 14, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 82

Pope Appeals for Middle East Peace

By VOA News

Pope John Paul II again urged Israelis and Palestinians to end the cycle of violence in the Middle East.

The pope, speaking at the Vatican Sunday before a crowd of 20,000, said it was everyone's duty, especially the leaders of the international community, to help both sides break "the immoral chain of provocations and reprisals." He also called on the Fatima Virgin to protect the Middle East.

Israeli Forces Launch Gaza Attacks

By VOA News

Israeli helicopter gunships have launched fierce attacks on Palestinian security targets in the Gaza Strip.

Several Israeli missiles landed near Palestinian security headquarters in Gaza City, while there were other attacks on Palestinian police posts near Gaza refugee camps. Israeli naval units also pounded Palestinian security posts along the Gaza coastline. Three people were reported injured in Gaza City.

The Israeli attacks came shortly after Palestinian gunmen slightly injured two Jewish settlers in the West Bank. There have also been recent Palestinian mortar attacks on Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.

Also Sunday, two top aides to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat traveled to the United States for talks with officials in Washington and at the United Nations.

Negotiator Abu Mazen, also known as Mahmoud Abbas, is trying to schedule a meeting early this week with Secretary of State Colin Powell. He would be the highest-ranking Palestinian to meet with U.S. officials since President Bush took office in January.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat is spending time at the United Nations for meetings with international officials there.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying Mideast violence will achieve nothing and that Israel has used "excessive force" in responding to the Palestinian uprising.

Israeli Helicopters Targeted Fatah Movement Leader

By Arutz-7 News & Jenny Badner (VOA-Jerusalem)

The IDF successfully killed a Fatah-Tanzim terrorist officer in a helicopter attack in Jenin Saturday. Three or four missiles were rained down on his car as he was driving with friends; two of the latter were mortally wounded, as were 15 passers-by, and a PA paramilitary policeman was killed.

The targeted terrorist was responsible for the war's only mortar shell fired onto a Jewish town in Shomron - the community of Kadim, 10 days ago - as well as for the manufacture of mortar shells in the area. Fatah announced that it would avenge the killing, which it called "organized state terrorism."

Several Palestinian children were slightly injured in the attack. They were returning home from school and were near the car when the helicopter dropped the missiles. Palestinians have condemned Israel's pinpoint killings of Palestinian activists who Israel suspects have helped orchestrate attacks aimed at killing Israeli civilians.

The Jenin attack came one day after Israeli tanks entered Palestinian-controlled territory in the Gaza Strip, flattening a Palestinian police station. That raid followed a Palestinian grenade attack that injured two Israeli soldiers.

Tawfiq Tirawi, the PA General Security Chief in Judea and Samaria whose headquarters were destroyed in an Israeli raid last week, said that his men would act to thwart Palestinian mortar attacks on Israeli targets. He said that such attacks "hurt more than they help."

IBM is Perfecting Hebrew Voice Recognition

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Within two years, IBM's multimedia laboratory in Haifa will be able to develop the technology needed for a computer to recognize spoken Hebrew and convert it into written text without the use of a keyboard.

Similar programs exist, including IBM's ViaVoice system, however none can convert spoken Hebrew into text.

Hebrew speech recognition computer programs must cope with problems that do not exist with European languages, such as the ability to say in one word in Hebrew, what takes three words in English, for example, k'sheba'u,"when they came."

Last month, LexisNexis' market research company, Cahners In-Stat Group, predicted that the Hebrew market would be worth $2.7 billion by 2005.

Several Israeli companies are also involved in developing such programs, including Nice, Comverse and PerSay. Primary clients include banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions that record telephone transactions for future identification purposes.

At least one company is close to perfecting a speech recognition system which recognizes not only what a person is saying, but also his or her feelings.

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