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>Israel Faxx
>JN Nov. 9, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 186

Southern Residents Arrested for Smuggling Palestinians


A resident of the southern community of Moshav Shuva, near Netivot, was apprehended by security forces after he smuggled PA residents into "Israel proper," realizing the laborers were not permitted to cross the Green Line.

One of the three laborers was apprehended in the Yad Mordehai region. Police set up roadblocks and checkpoints in the Negev area in search for the other two.

Suicide Bomber Suspect Dies During Israeli Raid

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

A Palestinian man suspected of planning a suicide bombing in Israel blew himself up Thursday in the West Bank as Israeli commandos closed in on his hideout.

Israel said two commandos were injured during the raid in the Palestinian village of Baka al-Sharkiyeh near the line that separates Israel and the West Bank. The Islamic militant group Hamas identified the bomber as one of its members from the West Bank town of Tulkarm.

The raid came as Israeli security forces were on alert in the center and north of Israel after receiving warnings that a Palestinian militant was planning to carry out a suicide bombing.

Israel has accused Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat of failing to arrest militants involved in terrorist attacks against Israelis. Arafat said he is making a real effort to crack down on militant groups, but Palestinian officials said he cannot be expected to carry out large scale arrests while Israeli soldiers are raiding Palestinian areas.

In Washington, Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Shaath pressed the United States to get more involved in Middle East peace efforts. After meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Shaath said that an assertive role by the United States is the only viable alternative.

Israeli Forces Fire on Jordanian Diplomatic Vehicle

By VOA News

Jordan wants Israel to formally explain why its forces allegedly fired at a car with Jordanian diplomatic license plates in the Gaza Strip. The incident took place Thursday near the Erez crossing as the vehicle was on its way to Jordan from Gaza. Two Jordanians in the car escaped unharmed. Jordan maintains a diplomatic office in Gaza.

Israeli officials say that as the Jordanian car approached the crossing, a grenade was thrown at soldiers manning a post there. The Israelis say the soldiers fired in the direction from which the grenade apparently came. They say the soldiers had no intention of firing on the Jordanian vehicle.

Israeli Arab Lawmaker Loses Parliamentary Immunity

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's parliament has stripped an Arab lawmaker of his immunity, making it possible for the government to prosecute him on criminal charges. The lawmaker, Azmi Bishara, is accused of incitement against Israel and arranging illegal visits to Syria for Israeli citizens.

The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, voted 61-30 to lift Arab lawmaker Azmi Bishara's immunity. It is the first time in the country's history that a member of the Knesset has been stripped of such protection for political statements.

The Israeli attorney general who asked the Knesset to lift Bishara's immunity is now expected to prosecute him on two charges. The first relates to a speech he made in Syria, in which he called on Arab countries to support "the Palestinian people's struggle" and praised Hizbullah guerrilla fighters in Lebanon. This is considered incitement against Israel. Bishara denied the charges, saying he "never incited to violence."

Bishara also faces charges that he organized trips to Syria for Arab citizens of Israel. While Bishara is allowed to travel to Syria legally on his diplomatic passport, ordinary citizens are prohibited from visiting a country which is deemed to be "at war" with Israel. Bishara admitted organizing such trips, but said he was acting out of humanitarian concerns, in order to allow Arab citizens of Israel to visit their relatives in Syria.

The lifting of his parliamentary immunity does not mean that Bishara, a Christian from Nazareth, has to give up his seat in the Knesset. But he says the legal challenges against him will, in his words, hamper his political activity.

The Knesset has voted 30 times in the past to lift immunity for members, but all the previous cases involved traffic offenses or alleged crimes such as accepting bribes.

Jews And Israel


The Tourism Ministry released a survey this week showing that 94 percent of the tourists who leave Israel plan to recommend to their friends to come to Israel at this time. Some 98 percent of British and American tourists would do so, compared with 92 percent of the French and 91 percent of the Germans.

The newly instated Tourism Minister Benny Elon has an ambitious plan to bring world Jewry to Israel - at least for a visit. He is planning to invest major resources and efforts in this area, as well as in bringing Christian supporters of Israel.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Guardian in London, "We are planning now to bring another 1 million Jews to Israel." The Guardian article presented the plan as a "threat" against the Palestinian Authority, when in actuality Sharon mentioned it as part of the traditional Israeli program of "building the land."

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