Newsletter : 4fax0116.txt
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WHO: Bird Flu May Become Bigger Than SARS
World Health Organization experts are expressing concern over the spread of bird flu in
Asia. To date, three deaths have been attributed to the disease, which appears to have
originated in Vietnam; bus cases are being reported in Japan and Southern Korea. Over a
million chickens and ducks have been killed in the hope of containing the disease.
Officials add that at present, it appears one may only contract the disease by coming in
contact with an infected chicken or its waste. While persons have been diagnosed with bird
flu, person-to-person infection is not possible, experts are reporting.
Israeli High Court to Consider Legality of Security Barrier
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's high court has agreed to consider the legality of a controversial West Bank
security barrier, just weeks before the project is tested under international law. The
court decided Thursday that it would be the first forum to consider whether a barrier, now
under construction in and around the West Bank, is lawful. A hearing has been set for Feb.
5, about two weeks before Israelis and Palestinians are scheduled to start presenting
their arguments on the issue at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The Israeli high court will hear a petition submitted by the Center for the Defense of
the Individual - a human rights group. The petition deals with the building of the barrier
beyond the so-called Green Line, which delineates Israel from the West Bank. Legal experts
in Israel say the hearing will act, in their words, as a dress rehearsal for the Israeli
defense counsel's appearance in The Hague.
The International Court is to convene February 23 after the U.N. General Assembly
requested a ruling on whether Israel is legally obliged to tear down the barrier.
Some Israeli cabinet ministers are calling for the route of the barrier to be changed
before the matter goes to court. Israel's justice minister, Tommy Lapid, has warned the
Jewish state risks being brought into international disrepute by crossing this line and
constructing some parts of the project inside the West Bank.
The Palestinian leadership claims the barrier is an attempt by Israel to seize more
land and unilaterally determine the boundaries of a future Palestinian State. Israel
denies this and says that the project is meant only to prevent Palestinians from crossing
over into the Jewish State to carry out suicide bombings and other terror attacks.
Israel says that the barrier does not constitute a new political boundary and can be
dismantled if and when a final peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians.
Israel Seals Gaza Strip
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has sealed the Gaza Strip; a day after a Palestinian suicide bomber blew herself
up at a border crossing.
Israel closed the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel, preventing thousands of
Palestinians from reaching their jobs. The closure is in response to a suicide bombing
that killed three Israeli soldiers and a civilian security guard Wednesday.
Immediately after the bombing, the military announced a closure that has been extended
indefinitely. An army statement said the Erez Industrial Park on the border is also
closed. About 6,000 Palestinians work there. The army said that only humanitarian cases
would be allowed to cross the border. Gaza merchants have also been banned from taking
produce into Israel.
The statement did not say how long the measures would remain in effect. Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon's deputy said a military response should be expected. Deputy Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert told Israel Radio, "if it requires striking at those planning or setting in
motion acts of murder, then we have not refrained from doing so in the past and shall not
Brig. Gen. Gadi Shamni, the Israeli military commander in Gaza, also indicated Israel
would retaliate for the attack. He told Israel television Israel will know how to respond
at the time, place and method of its choosing.
The attack Wednesday was the first time the Islamic militant group Hamas sent a woman
on a suicide mission, and signaled a new tactic in circumventing Israeli security checks
that focus mainly on Palestinian men. In a videotaped message before the attack, the
21-year-old mother of two said she wanted to turn her body into deadly shrapnel. Israeli
soldiers handed her remains over to Palestinians in Gaza in two white sacks.
Helping Israel From Abroad
Merely by changing spending habits, Jewish families living abroad can inject some 7
billion shekels a year into the Israeli economy - for a net gain of 20,000 new jobs. How?
By making sure to spend only $50 each month on Israeli products.
The Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization, and the White and Blue Mission of
the Israeli Manufacturers Association have begun a joint campaign to promote the purchase
of Israeli goods abroad. Arutz-7 reported that the $50-a-month shift could lead to a 3
percent increase in Israel's industrial sales. Purposeful spending of this nature, it is
thought, could also lead to greater solidarity and identification with the Jewish
Israeli-made products can be found on these sites: www.jr.co.il/hotsites/sh-il.htm, http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/buyblueandwhite/, www.jewishuniverse.org and "http://store.yahoo.com/israelnationalnews/
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)