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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 21, 2001, Bol. 9, No. 142

Three Die in Gaza Blast

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

A Palestinian man and his two children died after an explosion ripped through their home in the Gaza Strip. The three died under disputed circumstances.

The Palestinian activist, Samir Abu Zeid, and his young daughter and son were killed in the blast. Palestinian officials said an Israeli missile hit his home in the southern Gaza Strip near the Egyptian border.

Israel denied firing a missile at the house and initially said the explosion occurred when a Palestinian mortar, which was aimed at an Israeli position, fell short of its target. Later, a military spokesman said an examination of the evidence showed Abu Zeid was handling a bomb that exploded prematurely. Abu Zeid was the leader of a local squad of activists engaged in confrontations with Israeli troops and Jewish settlers in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army said it seized a Palestinian truck full of weapons and ammunition as it crossed from Israeli territory into the Gaza Strip. An army spokesman said the weapons were hidden under building material in a truck driven by a Palestinian man from the West Bank town of Ramallah.

U.N. Security Council Debates Mideast Crisis

By Breck Ardery (VOA-United Nations)

The United Nations Security Council debated the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians Monday, but with no consensus on what action the Council should take.

The head of the Palestine Observer Mission, Nasser Al-Kidwa, opened the debate with charges that Israel is guilty of "atrocities" against the Palestinian people.

Al-Kidwa did condemn suicide bombings against Israel. However, the Palestinian representative said those suicide attacks did not occur until after what he characterized as a "bloody military campaign" carried out by Israel against the Palestinians. "Tension and confrontation are being caused because Israeli occupying forces expanded against Palestinian populated areas constituting a state of unbearable pressure on our people."

Al-Kidwa expressed strong support for a proposed Security Council resolution that would establish some type of international "monitoring mechanism" in the West Bank and Gaza. But Israeli ambassador Yehuda Lancry said the proposed resolution is one-sided and Israel remains opposed to an international monitoring presence. "How can the Palestinians claim the need for protection while they kill Israelis by the dozens on an ongoing basis?"

Still No Temple Mount Visits For Jews


The Supreme Court rejected another petition for Jews to visit the Temple Mount. Moshe Yogev of Gush Etzion requested that the police allow him to do so, but Judges Barak, Levine, and Cheshin accepted the police position that such permission would lead to "severe disturbances."

The Temple Mount has been closed to Jews for almost 11 months. Levine said that he is greatly troubled by the continuing closure of the Mount to Jews, and that he fears that this is the beginning of a "slippery slope" of capitulation to threats of violence.

Ransom for a Stolen Chagall: An Israeli-Palestinian Peace

By Israel Faxx Staff

A painting by artist Marc Chagall, "Study for 'Over Vitebsk'" was stolen from a wall at the Jewish Museum in New York City between June 7 and June 8. The painting, on loan from a private collection in Russia, is valued at over $1 million.

But now the museum has received a ransom demand -- not for money, but for peace. The letter said, according to museum officials and the police, that the painting would not be returned until there is peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The demand, postmarked June 12, was signed by the International Committee for Art and Peace, a group unknown to the FBI.

The New York Times reported Monday that the existence of the demand letter in the Chagall theft was kept secret until after it had undergone extensive forensic testing, Spokeswoman Anne Scher told the Times "We are extremely distressed about the missing painting, and this communication gives us hope for the possibility of recovering the work."

Law enforcement officials said that the writer apologized for the theft and embarrassing the museum, and said the painting was "being taken care of."

The officials, who asked for anonymity, said they could not tell if the writer's sympathies lie with the Palestinians or Israel. One investigator told the Times it was not clear exactly what peace conditions would secure the painting's return.

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