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Report: Defense Ministry Stops Collecting Gas Masks
Israel's Defense Ministry has stopped a program to collect and restore gas masks due to
a lack of funds, Channel 2 reported Tuesday.
The ministry planned to restore roughly seven million masks that were distributed to
the public prior to United States conflicts in Iraq. The ministry has already collected
4.5 million gas masks, but will not collect the remaining 2.5 million unless NIS 40
million is made available
Israeli, Palestinian Leaders Meet in Jerusalem
By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem) & YnetNews.com
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met late Tuesday in
Jerusalem. Olmert and Abbas have been holding monthly meetings since December and their
negotiating teams have been meeting weekly since then, but both sides say there has been
little or no progress.
Now both leaders say they will step up their efforts - meeting again in two weeks.
Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said both leaders are committed to a peace agreement this
year, something they agreed to last year at the Annapolis Mideast peace meeting.
"There are a lot of issues on the table we want to have progress, and we remain
committed to a historic reconciliation this year - a historic agreement. Now a lot of work
has to be done; the two leaders will meet again in two weeks, and in the meantime the
negotiating teams will meet in an ongoing basis."
Earlier Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad criticized the pace of the
negotiations telling U.S. Jewish leaders that based on how the negotiations have been
progressing so far, he did not believe a peace agreement could be reached this year.
Relations between the two sides have deteriorated since last year's Annapolis peace
conference, with Israeli officials accusing Palestinians of not doing enough to stop
terrorist attacks against Israel, and Palestinian officials accusing Israeli officials of
not halting settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
A dispute over whether the two sides had agreed to postpone the issue of discussing the
status of Jerusalem nearly derailed Tuesday's meeting. Speaking before the talks got under
way, Saeb Erekat, a key Palestinian negotiator said Palestinians would not consider
putting off such an important issue.
"How can you speak about delaying discussing any subject of things that you have not
begun discussing," he said. "Secondly, how can you reach an agreement without discussing
the whole package? We have the basic principle agreed between us that nothing is agreed
until everything is agreed."
Erekat said that Abbas raised the issue of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip and
called on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners during their talks.
Hamas terrorists who control the Gaza Strip condemned Tuesday's meeting saying Abbas
has no authority to negotiate on behalf of Palestinians. A 10-year-old Palestinian boy was
killed in Gaza on Tuesday when he was caught in crossfire between Israeli troops and
Despite Israeli claims that the issue of Jerusalem was not discussed in Tuesday's
meeting, Palestinian officials presented a completely different version. Palestinian
negotiator Saeb Erekat said that "the meeting dealt with all the issues pertaining to a
final-status agreement, including Jerusalem."
A senior Palestinian source added that "we're not talking about the snow in Jerusalem,
but rather, we're talking about the settlement activity in Jerusalem."
The official told Ynet that Jerusalem, just like other core issues, is being discussed
at every meeting. "We make it clear to the Israeli side that all the construction in
Jerusalem is illegal in our view, and that in the future this construction will either be
razed or be handed over to the Palestinians."
Olmert said that the Palestinians did not bring up the issue of the postponement of
talks on the status of Jerusalem. "The issue of postponing the discussion on Jerusalem to
the end of the negotiations was not brought up in talks between me and Abbas," Olmert said
following the meeting. He also noted that "Israel is obligated to prevent a humanitarian
crisis in the Gaza Strip, but it is not obligated to open the (Gaza) crossings."
Addressing the question of Jerusalem, an Israeli political source said that "the issue
was not brought up this evening, and you may draw any conclusion you wish. The prime
minister's position is that the issue of Jerusalem is the most problematic. If this issue
is brought up now, the negotiations will end."
German Professors: No More Preferential Treatment for Israel
Germany "has paid its debt in full to the Jewish people." These are words that have
been brewing just below the surface in Germany for quite a while, and now they were
uttered aloud in Israel. In a conference held Monday at Netanya's Academic College, German
professors asserted that their country "should stop giving the Sate of Israel preferential
This statement comes at the heels of a manifesto, recently published by 25 German
scholars, which maintained that Germany must be more `balanced' in its political relations
with Israel and its Arab neighbors.
The aforementioned professors stated that Germany helped strengthen the burgeoning
State of Israel by deporting 160,000 German Jews during the Nazi reign. These refugees
ultimately ended up in Israel and bolstered its Jewish population at the Arabs'
Furthermore, noted the professors, Germany has paid its "debt to the Jewish nation" in
full through its reparations agreement with Israel. Whereas the Holocaust was an indelible
stain on the annals of German history, they stated, Germany must now improve its relations
with the Arab world by taking on a more balanced approach to its foreign policy and its
treatment of Israel.
This German manifesto was hotly contested by Israeli professors in a debate held Monday at
the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya College. This debate was organized by Dov
Ben-Meir, a member of the center's steering committee and former vice speaker of the
Knesset. Ben-Meir has recently published a "counter-manifesto" of his own, which
challenges the German professors' assertions.
In his manifesto, Ben Meir maintained that it is only after Germany's reparations
agreement with Israel that the world began to see Germany in a different light and give
credence to the "new German nation."
Furthermore, stated Ben Meir, Israel purchased goods from Germany at a value far
exceeding the amount given to it in reparation payments. At any rate, he noted, the money
Israel had attained from Germany can not be deemed "preferential treatment," but rather a
moral debt paid to those that had been robbed.
Ben-Meir concluded his manifesto with a stark warning to Germany, warning the country
that if it ceases its "preferential treatment" of Israel, this could very well signal a
slow return to the dark days of the Nazi regime.
Castro's Anti-Israel Regime Ends
Fidel Castro has stepped down after nearly a half-century as leader of Cuba and his
anti-Israel stance, both diplomatically and militarily, was pronounced.
Castro, 81, seized national power in 1959, aided by his brother and designated
successor, Raul, aged 76. Already then, his Nazi-like tactics were noticed by many of the
estimated 20,000 Jews then in Cuba.
In college in the 1940s, he was said to have walked around the campus with a copy of
Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf under his arm. His first attempt at seizing power, in July
1953, was an attack on an isolated outpost of the Cuban army, in which 100 people were
killed. It was reminiscent of Hitler's attack on the War Ministry in Munich in 1924, both
were seemingly amateurish, and both made their perpetrators national figures.
When he finally took over Cuba several years later, Castro stabilized his rule by
summary executions and eliminations, and with a total takeover of the media. In addition,
he created the Nazi-like Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, assigned to spy on
and control neighborhood residents, as well as the Young Pioneers, in imitation of the
infamous Hitler Youth.
Although the Cuban Jewish community numbered as high as 30,000 in the 1950s, by 1967
only about 2,000 were left. This number has now dwindled to well fewer than 1,000.
Castro led Cuba along a clearly anti-Israel path, both diplomatically and militarily.
After the Six-Day War in 1967, Cuba's ambassador in the United Nations called it an "armed
aggression against the Arab people... by a most treacherous... surprise attack in the Nazi
A year earlier, the Tri-Continental Conference in Havana, featuring revolutionaries and
terrorists from around the world, passed a resolution calling for the breaking of all
treaties with Israel and for its expulsion from all international organizations. Later in
1966, Castro opened more than a dozen guerrilla training camps under the direction of a
KGB officer, in which budding Palestinian terrorists were trained.
In October 1973, during the Yom Kippur war, not only did Castro break diplomatic
relations with Israel, but he deployed thousands of Cuban soldiers, including helicopter
pilots and tank crews, to fight alongside the Syrians. The next year, Castro gave the
Palestine Liberation Organization an expropriated Jewish community center in Havana - and
awarded the visiting Yasir Arafat with Cuba's highest award, the Bay of Pigs Medal.
Evidence of Cuban training of Palestinian terrorists continued to surface throughout
the 1970's and the ensuing decades. In 1975, Cuba sided with the UN majority that called
Zionism "a form of racism" - and in 1991, when the UN finally repealed the resolution,
Cuba voted against the repeal.
And in 1982, it was the Cuban Embassy in Beirut that served as Arafat's headquarters
during Israel's Peace for Galilee War in southern Lebanon.
(IsraelNationalNews' story was based on articles by Agustin Blazquez & Jaums
Sutton, and Myles Kantor.)
Israeli Scientist Links Cell Phones, Cancer
A Tel Aviv University scientist has found a link between cell phone use and the
development of cancerous tumors.
Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, an epidemiologist and lecturer at Tel Aviv University, recently
published the results of a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology that found heavy
cell phone users were subject to a higher risk of both benign and malignant tumors of the
salivary gland. She and her colleagues investigated nearly 500 people who had been
diagnosed with these tumors.
The fact that the study was done on an Israeli population is significant. "Unlike
people in other countries, Israelis were quick to adopt cell phone technology and have
continued to be exceptionally heavy users," Sadetzki said. "Therefore, the amount of
exposure to radiofrequency radiation found in this study has been higher than in previous
cell phone studies."
Sadetzki's main research on this new study was carried out at the Gertner Institute for
Epidemiology and Health Policy Research at the Sheba Medical Center. Her research is part
of the international Interphone Study, which attempts to determine an association between
cell phones and several types of brain and parotid gland tumors.
IDF Building Longest Landing Strip in Middle East
The Israel Air Force has been quietly transforming its Nevatim base, a standard air
force installation, into a Middle East wonder of the military world.
The plan to expand and upgrade the base into a massive complex designed to house
various operational buildings as well as thousands of IAF personnel is well underway, with
construction of the new base almost complete.
But the real centerpiece of the improved Negev-based IAF complex is its new landing
strip, a whopping 2.5-mile paved highway on which the largest transport aircraft can land.
It will be the largest landing strip in the entire Middle East.
The development is part of a master plan by the IDF to move the majority of IAF bases
south to the Negev, said Col. Tzvi Tweezer, administrator of the Nevatim base in an
article posted on the IAF website.
"The transfer of the Air Force to the south is part of a great plan being put into
action by the IDF," he said. "This particular stage is paramount to the success of that
greater plan, which includes the upcoming `training base city' project." Tweezer added
that the expanded base would also provide jobs for hundreds of people in a region which is
known for its lower-than-average salaries and high unemployment.
The article also pointed out that such a mammoth operation requires development of
improved infrastructure in the area. "This will include constructing transportation
systems, education facilities, places of employment and housing. As part of the
improvement of the infrastructure in the region, a train station will be built at the
gates of the base
vital roads will be built ahead of schedule by the IAF and a
gas-powered electricity station will be built to produce energy for the region," he
The amount of asphalt used to pave the new landing strip was about the same amount used
to pave a 56-mile-long two-lane highway.
The base is expected to stretch across an area equivalent to the total size of Tel
Aviv-Jaffa and will include a new air traffic control tower, underground hangars and
housing for at least 2,000 soldiers. Some 900 workers were hired to build the new base,
with more than half of them local Negev residents.
The project, which also involved relocation of IDF training units, Intelligence Corps
and Teleprocessing Units, is expected to cost a total of approximately $658 million. The
new Nevatim base is slated to make its debut by 2009.
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