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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 16, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 139

Taxis To Be Equipped with Panic Alert Buttons


Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh announced that taxis would be equipped with panic buttons that would permit police to trace the location of a vehicle.

After it was learned that the Wall Street Cafe suicide bomber was transported to the scene of the Kiryat Motzkin attack by a taxi, Sneh stated the panic buttons would be installed.

The new device carries a NIS 1,200 ($300) price tag and a monthly fee of NIS 9 (about $2).Sneh plans to request that the treasury undertake the cost of the new devices.

Violence Continues in Middle East

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli soldiers have shot and killed a Palestinian activist in the West Bank city of Hebron. The killing followed an Israeli military buildup near Palestinian villages around Bethlehem.

Palestinians said Imad Abu Sneineh, a member of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, was gunned down by undercover Israeli soldiers near his home in Hebron. Palestinian officials are calling the killing an assassination.

Israeli military sources say the man was wanted for organizing attacks on Jewish settlers in Hebron.

Palestinians accuse Israel of assassinating more than 50 activists since the uprising against Israeli occupation began last September. Israel says it is acting in self-defense and that targeting the militants is the only way to stop terrorist attacks on Israelis. The practice has been widely condemned by the United States and other nations.

The shooting followed Israeli troop movements near the West Bank town of Bethlehem and nearby villages. Tanks and soldiers were moved into positions around Beit Jala, after Palestinian gunmen fired on the nearby Jewish community of Gilo. Israelis regard Gilo as a neighborhood of Jerusalem, although it was built on disputed land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

The troop movements came the day after Israeli tanks and bulldozers raided the West Bank city of Jenin, destroying a Palestinian police headquarters before withdrawing. Israel says several Palestinian suicide bombers came from the Jenin area. Israel says it is trying to pressure the Palestinian Authority to arrest militants before they attack.

Palestinian officials say the Jenin incursion was a "declaration of war," and are calling on the United Nations Security Council to intervene.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned that the Palestinians will "lose more assets" if the violence continues. Sharon's remarks came after Israel took over Palestinians offices in and around Jerusalem. Among the buildings seized was Orient House, the symbolic headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in East Jerusalem.

Israel took over Orient House and other Palestinian offices in retaliation for a suicide bombing that killed 16 people last week in a Jerusalem restaurant.

Bush: Middle East Has Become 'Cauldron of Violence'

By Paula Wolfson (VOA-White House)

President George W. Bush has issued yet another appeal to Palestinian and Israeli leaders to bring violence to a halt. Bush urged restraint at a time when tensions are escalating daily.

The president said the Middle East has become "a cauldron of violence." And he said that the bloodshed must come to an end.

During a visit to a park in Colorado, Bush again called on Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to clamp down on suicide bombers. At the same time, he said the Israelis must show restraint.

Arab Ministers Announce Pro-Palestinian Media Campaign

By VOA News

Arab information ministers, meeting in Cairo, have agreed to spend more than $1 million to improve the Palestinians' image in Western media in the fight against Israeli occupation.

Arab League media adviser Hanan Ashrawi said the campaign would combat what she called "media deception" relating to the Palestinian issue. The information ministers said Western media generally portray Israel as the victim in the 11-month-long Palestinian uprising.

Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi Aridi, who chaired the meeting, said the conference was in response to "great powers trying to appease Israel at the expense of fairness and justice."

The United States was chosen as the primary focus of the campaign, with lesser efforts to be directed toward European media outlets. The information ministers said the plan also would help Arab nations speak with greater unity about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Reuters said the action plan will devote much of the budget for advertisements in major world newspapers, while some of the money would finance English-language coverage broadcast on Arab satellite channels. Most media outlets in Arab nations are state-run or controlled by government officials.

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