Newsletter : 1fax0525.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
>JN May 25, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 91
Indyk: Negev is Better Than West Bank for Settlement
Israel Faxx Staff
The Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva honored
U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk with an honorary doctorate. He
suggested that Israeli investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
since 1967 would have been better spent in the Negev.
"Imagine how different things would look now if all the effort
invested in the settlements in the territories had been made in the
At Least 15 Die as Jerusalem Wedding Hall Collapses
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem) & CNN
At least 15 people are dead and more than 200 were injured Thursday
evening after a wedding hall collapsed in southeast Jerusalem.
Hundreds of people were dancing at the wedding when the hall
collapsed in what police say was apparently an accident.
Ehud Olmert, mayor of Jerusalem, said "many more" people were
trapped in the rubble. He said the roof of the building collapsed
onto the fourth floor, where a wedding party was being held. That
floor collapsed onto the lower floors, which were empty or nearly
empty, Olmert said.
Jerusalem police said the collapse was not a terrorist attack.
Rescue teams and ambulances from throughout Israel were called to
the scene, while hospitals issued urgent appeals for blood.
A police commander told CNN between 700 and 1,400 people were
inside at the time attending a wedding reception. The wedding hall,
which is also known to host discos, is in the Talpiot industrial
A wedding was underway when top floor of the four-story building
gave way, sending people, tables and chairs plunging to the ground.
Witnesses say the concrete structure crashed through the floors
below, leaving metal cables hanging at twisted angles from the side
of the building. Witnesses say many people were trapped under the
rubble, and rescue crews worked to free people from the collapsed
Israel Shoots Down Lebanese Civilian Plane
By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com
The Israeli air force has shot down a small Lebanese civilian plane
over Israel near the Mediterranean coast between Haifa and Tel
Aviv. The pilot was killed.
An Israeli military spokesman said the Cessna aircraft was shot
down after the pilot failed to respond to repeated warnings from
Israeli fighter jets and helicopters and was nearing populated
areas. Israeli officials say they feared the possibility of a
Lebanese officials identified the pilot as 43-year-old Stefan
Nikolian, a Lebanese of Armenian heritage. They say he was a
student pilot and took off from Beirut airport without permission,
leaving his instructor on the tarmac. Lebanese officials later said
the pilot suffered from psychological problems.
The Israeli spokesman said the air force went on alert when it
noticed the plane turned in the direction of Israel. The Lebanese
army said Israeli warplanes intercepted the small plane over
Lebanese territory and escorted it into Israeli airspace. Israel
denied that claim.
An army spokesman says Israeli warplanes and helicopters made
repeated attempts to contact the plane, including firing a warning
shot, but the pilot refused to respond or identify himself.
Dudu Cohen, a resident of Mikhmoret, lives in the town's first row
of houses near the beach: He told Arutz-7, "Around 11:30 AM, I saw
a little low-flying plane surrounded weirdly by three helicopters.
Suddenly a burst of fire came out of one, and the light plane burst
into pieces, which fell all around us."
Other reports said that two F-16s were following the Cessna, and
were later joined by Apache helicopters. Residents all along the
coast also said they saw the low-flying plane.
An investigation is underway to ascertain whether the lone pilot
was in fact on his way to commit a suicide attack, or was a
beginning pilot who had lost his way. Air Force Commander Maj.Gen.
Dan Halutz explained that even in the latter eventuality, the
danger of the plane's accidental crashing into a residential area
was too great to allow the plane to continue flying.
According to CNN's Mike Hanna, the Israeli army said it took the
decision to down the plane "in the light of repeated threats by
Hizbullah to take some sort of cross-border action."
According to the Associated Press, Hizbullah radio said Nikolian
arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday from Cyprus, although it did not
say if he was linked to that guerrilla group.
Nemeh Malek, director of the plane's owner, JR Executives, said the
pilot had flown three or four times this week with a trained pilot,
but was not licensed to fly without an instructor.
CNN's Brent Sadler said Nikolian had turned up for a lesson at 11
a.m. and the instructor had told him to "go to the plane and
prepare it." The trainee pilot then switched the plane on and took
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)