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A new Internet website has made hundreds of Hebrew-language books accessible to those who have a free Acrobat reader available from the Israel Faxx home page. The URL is www.hebrewbooks.org. The website boasts 119 American journals and 650 seforim. Among the books is Avne Yehoshua by Rabbi Joshua Falk, New York, which is the very first sefer written in the U.S. in 1860.


Israeli Forces Leaving Hebron

By VOA News

Israel is withdrawing its forces from Palestinian-ruled areas of Hebron after a search and arrest invasion that began Monday.

The Israeli army said it arrested 200 people in the West Bank city, including men on its wanted list. The IDF said it plans to complete the pullout later Tuesday. But Israeli troops remain stationed around a Hebron hospital where about 20 Palestinian militants are holed up inside.

At least nine Palestinians were killed when Israeli forces entered Hebron on Monday. Israel says it launched the incursion to crush what it called the city's terror infrastructure, two days after Palestinian gunmen killed four Israelis at a nearby Jewish settlement.

An Israeli commander, Mosher Ager, said the Hebron raid may be the last operation of Israel's month-long West Bank offensive. However, Israeli forces also raided two West Bank Palestinian villages early Tuesday, searching homes and arresting a number of people before pulling out. The operations were in Shawara, near Bethlehem, and Silat al-Harithiyeh, near Jenin.

In the Gaza Strip, one Palestinian was killed and another wounded by Israeli troops at the Khan Younis refugee camp. The Israeli army said it fired at armed men who approached a Jewish settlement.

In Ramallah, shooting erupted briefly near the besieged headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Israeli soldiers blamed Palestinian gunmen for opening fire. There were no reported injuries.

U.S., British and Palestinian officials have reportedly resumed talks to work out details of a plan ending Israel's siege of the Arafat compound. Under the U.S.-brokered deal, Israel is to allow Arafat freedom of movement, and six Palestinians wanted by Israel will be taken to a jail in Jericho, where they will be watched by U.S. and British guards.



26 Palestinians Leave Besieged Bethlehem Church

By VOA News

Twenty-six Palestinians have left the Israeli-besieged Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem - the largest single group to emerge from the compound since the standoff began nearly one month ago.

An Israeli army spokesman said half of the group are members of the Palestinian security forces and the other half, civilians.

A Franciscan priest escorted the group - including many youths - out of the church one-by-one Tuesday. Each person had his identity checked and was taken into custody and interrogated by the Israeli army about the Palestinian gunmen still inside the church. The evacuation agreement was reached earlier by Palestinian negotiators and Israeli military officials meeting in Bethlehem.

Between 180 and 200 people, including about 30 armed militants wanted by Israel, are still in the church. Israel said the civilians have been held hostage by the militants. The Palestinians denied that anyone is being held against their will.


Palestinians Call For Sanctions On Israel

By VOA News

Palestinian officials are calling on the United Nations to impose sanctions against Israel - unless the Israeli government cooperates with a U.N. fact-finding mission to the Jenin refugee camp.

The Palestinians said Israel's refusal to work with the U.N. team indicates Israeli forces committed war crimes in the camp. Israel strongly denied Palestinian accusations that its soldiers carried out a massacre at Jenin during their West Bank offensive this month.

Earlier Tuesday, a top U.N. official said Secretary-General Kofi Annan is thinking about abandoning the mission because of Israel's refusal to cooperate. Undersecretary-general Kieran Prendergast said Annan believes a thorough, credible, and balanced report on what happened at the camp is not possible unless Israel works with the team.

Israel's government said it would not work with the mission until its conditions on the U.N. team's mandate and make-up are met.

Annan told reporters Tuesday that the United Nations has "really done everything to deal with their concerns." He said he was waiting for a formal notification from Israel before deciding the next step.

Annan recalled that Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer had told him that a U.N. probe would be welcome and that Israel has nothing to hide.



Anti-Semites Smash London Synagogue

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Anti-Semitic vandalism made a dramatic appearance in England this past Saturday night. Vandals desecrated the Finsbury Park Synagogue in London, such that worshipers who entered the synagogue the next morning were greeted with a swastika painted on the rabbi's lectern, torn prayer books, and over 20 smashed windows. Green paint was splashed on the holy ark, and various religious articles were destroyed. An Israeli flag, which had been stomped on and covered in paint, lay on the floor.

Statistics show a seven-fold increase in attacks on British Jews since the beginning of the year. Jeremy Newmark, the official spokesman for the UK's Chief Rabbi, emphasized the seriousness of this attack: "This is the first incident in the country that resembles what's happening on the continent [the rest of Europe]."

Jewish communities throughout Europe have encountered a wave of attacks on synagogues, Jewish schools, and cemeteries in the past several months. A synagogue in Marseilles, France was recently burned to the ground.


Girl Scout Stands Up for Israel

By IsraelNationalNews.com

American Girl Scout Erica Belkin, 16, insists she will be marching in her girl scout uniform in the upcoming New York City Salute to Israel Day Parade. Girl Scout officials have already told her she may not, explaining the parade is a "political event," and therefore, she may not march in uniform.

Belkin however has a different view on the issue, explaining that other scouts have in the past marched in uniform on the St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Chinese New Year and other religious and national holiday, the New York Post reported.

Erica announced it is an issue of her Jewish pride, rejecting the ruling by scout leaders. She is accusing them of imposing a double standard.

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