Terrorism news
Anti-terror goat: It may sound like a prank, but 29-year-old dog trainer Geva Zin from Kibbutz Lahav in the south is in fact training a goat to detect explosives, Israel's leading newspaper YEDIOTH AHRONOTH reported Sunday [Jan 8].

Zin is trying to solve a problem that has been troubling IDF soldiers and American fighters in Iraq: How to detect explosive materials hidden on one's body, as in the case when dealing with suicide bombers.

Explosive-sniffing dogs may be the obvious solution, yet using a dog in Muslim societies would be problematic and offensive to the local population.

Zin, who runs a kennel in Kibbutz Lahav, has already trained dogs and even pigs to sniff out explosive materials and uncover mines. Following reports on Zin's success in training pigs for such mission, military officials turned to him with a request to train animals that would be less problematic in the eyes of Muslims.

According to Zin, the problem is critical in countries that suffer from increasing Islamic terrorism, such as Iraq, Chechnya, and some Middle Eastern nations.

"When I served as a dog trainer in the army, there was a problem of getting dogs into certain vehicles due to the presence of Islamic holy books in the car. The placing of dogs in homes also provoked fury and anger among people who were not involved in terrorism and were merely screened. Compared to that, a goat is a very friendly animal and it is accepted in the Muslim world," Zin said.

His breakthrough came with a young goat he was raising, Lalosha, who is able to sniff out explosives. The minute she identifies explosive material, she sits down, giving a signal to a soldier next to her that the individual in question must be carefully checked.


The suicide bomber who killed an Israel Defense Forces officer and two Palestinians at an army checkpoint near Tul Karm yesterday was apparently planning to blow himself up at one of the many children's events taking place in Tel Aviv during this week's Hanukkah holiday, HAARETZ reported. Had the bomber not been stopped at the checkpoint, the attack would have been far more deadly, said the sources.

Three soldiers and seven Palestinians were wounded in the bombing. Of the soldiers, one was seriously wounded, while the others suffered only light injuries.

The slain officer was Lieutenant Ori Binamo, 21, of Nesher. Of the slain Palestinians, one was the taxi driver who was carrying the bomber, and army sources said that the other might have been the bomber's guide.

Although the IDF had no specific intelligence about yesterday's attack, it had received information indicating that Islamic Jihad was trying to infiltrate a suicide bomber into Israel. This information, as well as knowing that the many jam-packed Hanukkah events would make an attractive target, moved the army to order stepped-up counterterrorism efforts in the northern West Bank around Tul Karm and Qalqilyah this week, including extra patrols and surprise checkpoints.

"For every suicide bomber that succeeds, we have stopped dozens who did not reach their targets," said Colonel Aharon Haliba, commander of the Ephraim Brigade. "We've hurt them [the Jihad network] badly, but it still has an active infrastructure. There is no decline in the volume of its attacks."

"I don't want to speak of a miracle," he continued, "but with all my sorrow over Ori, I have to tell the truth: He and his soldiers, with their bodies, prevented [a far more serious] attack. That is their job; that is our job."

Binamo, who will be buried in Haifa this morning, was considered an outstanding platoon commander. On Wednesday evening, just a day before the attack, his battalion commander had been asked to name his best platoon commander and unhesitatingly chose Binamo.

Israeli troops shot and killed the Hamas commander in Nablus during a predawn raid on Monday, according to an Israeli news source, THE MEDIA LINE. Thirty-four years old Amian Hanawi, one of "Israel’s most wanted men," had been sought for 12 years. A large force of Israeli police and soldiers from elite army units carried out the raid that was designed to apprehend Palestinian fugitives. Israeli officials said that in addition to killing Hanawi, several arrests were made. Israel alleges that Hanawi was the mastermind behind several homicide bombing attacks on Israeli citizens. Witnesses told reporters that the Israelis first surrounded the house where Hanawi was hiding and then ordered all of its occupants to come out. Hanawi was shot as he tried to flee.

The SPOKESPERSON OF ISRAEL’S FOREIGN MINISTRY announced that Israel had condemned the October 29 terror attacks in New Delhi in the strongest possible terms.

The statement went on to say that these heinous attacks were carried out on the eve of Diwalli festival in the hopes of disrupting this sacred time for the people of India.

This is a further instance of terrorists’ brutal disregard for innocent lives. It is up to all of us in the international community to fight terrorism in any and all forms.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and with and people of India during this difficult time.

Israel is also willing to share its experience in treating such injuries caused by explosives in order to save lives and ease the suffering of those who were hurt in the attacks.

Israeli soldiers arrested a terrorist's wife who held her baby to hide a grenade. In the same house, troops found a suitcase of explosives. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also killed four other terrorists who attacked them according to ARUTZ 7, Israel’s national news agency.

Haruv Battalion soldiers searched a house in a village near Shechem early Saturday, after receiving reports that ammunition was hidden there, according to Lt.-Col. Arik Chen. They discovered 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of explosives in a suitcase and arrested five terrorists.

Noticing that Aziza Jawabra, the wife of one of the terrorists, was holding her one-month-old baby in an unusual manner, the troops searched her and found a grenade in a jacket she was wearing.

"To see a woman using her baby to hide a grenade is not typical," Lt.-Col. Chen said. "She didn't have much to say," he added, except to deny knowing that the grenade was in the jacket. After soldiers arrested the terrorists, IDF sappers blew up the explosives, which destroyed the three-story building.

"I can firmly confirm that an attack against soldiers and civilians has been thwarted. Terror activities have not stopped for a minute," Lt.-Col. Chen added.

Israel has been attacked by Palestinian Arab terrorists 25,375 times since October 2000, General Security Service Director Yuval Diskin told his Knesset overseers on July 26, the JERUSALEM NEWSWIRE reported.

That figure includes 142 suicide bomb attacks, Diskin said in a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The results of that terrorist onslaught are 1,048 persons murdered and over 5,600 injured and maimed, as well as incalculable mental trauma.

Diskin said some 18,000 Palestinian Authority (PA) residents and another 225 Arab citizens of Israel have participated in perpetrating these attacks. The committee also heard a detailed analysis by former Defense Ministry official Uzi Rubin on the massive Muslim missile threat facing the Jewish state.

Rubin said over 1,000 Iranian, Syrian, Egyptian, and Saudi long-range missiles capable of delivering a combined 500 tons of military-grade warheads were currently pointed at and capable of reaching all points of Israel.

"If Israel does not present a credible response, the missile threat will endanger the security of its citizens, limit its military and political freedom of action, constitute a serious obstacle to any political agreement, and endanger the stability of any agreement that is reached," Rubin told the committee.


Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres strongly condemned the terror attacks in Sharm El Sheikh and stated:

"The entire world must fight together against terrorism. Our heart is with the Egyptian people and President Mubarak during their time of pain over the loss of so many innocents. We also extend our condolences to the families of the victims and our wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured."

Intelligence reports that have reached diplomatic echelons in Jerusalem warn that Hamas is moving the nucleus of it operations from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank in preparation for Israel's withdrawal from the coastal region.

According to THE JERUSALEM POST, Hamas was relocating its headquarters with the consideration that once Gaza is under Palestinian authority, their battlefront would move to Judea and Samaria, Army Radio quoted sources in the security establishment.

Hamas apparently intended to continue orchestrating terror attacks from within the West Bank following disengagement, officials warned.

French President Jacques Chirac turned down today a request by Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom to add Hezbollah to the European Union's list of terror organizations, HA'ARETZ reported. The EU will soon hold an initial discussion on the Israeli request, which is based on the danger posed by Hezbollah to new Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. France has played the primary role so far in blocking the addition of Hezbollah to the list.

Both Israeli and Palestinian sources have accused Hezbollah of trying to organize attacks in order to torpedo the ceasefire reached between Abbas and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Sharm el-Sheikh last week.

During their meeting, Shalom also asked Chirac to use France's influence in the Arab world to promote warmer Arab-Israeli ties.


Between two to five mortar shells landed this afternoon in Gush Katif, one exploding near a kindergarten, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. No one was wounded but several buildings were lightly damaged. Several hours earlier, two antitank rockets had been fired at Netzarim, in the northern Gaza Strip, directly hitting the town's synagogue. There were no casualties in the attack despite the fact that at the time of the attack, worshipers were conducting morning prayers. The building suffered extensive damage.

Also today, two mortar shells were fired at an IDF base south of the Karni crossing in northern Gaza.

According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, two Qassam rockets landed in the western Negev this afternoon, causing no casualties. Several mortar shells were fired at Jewish towns in the Gaza Strip on Monday night. Meanwhile, troops enter El Bireh, next to Ramallah, on Monday night to rescue an Israeli gas company employee who was being attacked by a crowd of Palestinians. The man had entered El Bireh by mistake and called the police on his mobile phone to ask for help. He was safely escorted back into Israel.


Nearly 5,000 mortar shells have landed in Gush Katif since the start of Palestinian violence four years ago, killing four people and injuring over a hundred, MA'ARIV reported. A former senior Israel Defense Forces officer noted that, "the numbers are reminiscent of the fighting in southern Lebanon and maybe even surpass them. In Lebanon we simply fired back. In Gaza it is impossible since they fire from civilian territory. There are solutions to this problem, but they are not being carried out".

In other security-related news, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported that five Israelis had been wounded, two of them moderately, in two shooting incidents on the Kissufim-Gush Katif road. IDF soldiers killed two of the terrorists who carried out the shooting attack.

IDF troops in the Gaza Strip shot dead a member of the Islamic Jihad this morning as he was attempting to plant an explosive device near an Israeli town.

Nearly half a million Israelis carry with them elements of severe emotional and psychological trauma due to incidents of terrorism, and are in need of medical treatment, a survey released in the JERUSALEM POST on December 2 shows.

Despite the fact that most Israelis were never present at the scene of terrorist attacks, the survey, which questioned nearly 500 Israelis in the last months, reveals that one in every 10 Israelis is exposed directly to terror attacks.

The survey appears as part of a general study performed by the Tel Aviv University Medical School for Natal, a nonprofit organization that deals with victims of terror and war in Israel.

Naomi, a volunteer with the terror-victim support hotline, deals with these issues head-on. "We experience the reality of this data constantly. People who experienced trauma or shock just from being within the vicinity of a terrorist attack turn to us, as do people who were themselves injured physically or emotionally, even if much time has gone by," she told Army Radio.

However, even in this survey a positive note can be found: 82% of Israelis are optimistic about their personal futures, despite the current difficult situation.

Over 1,000 Israelis have been killed and thousands more wounded since the start of Palestinian violence in September 2000.

There have been 22,406 terror attacks against Israeli targets on both sides of the Green Line in the past four years, according to statistics released by the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel's airline, El Al, plans to begin installing its first anti-missile systems in one aircraft in December, Israel Radio, KOL YSRAEL, reported. The installation will begin with one Boeing jet, and if the experiment proves a success, six other aircrafts will be fitted with the system. The anti-missile system Flight Guard, which costs about $1 million per plane, was developed by the Israeli Military Industries together with Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industry.

The system responds automatically to an approaching heat-seeking missile, firing flares that act as decoys and divert the missile away from the aircraft's path.

The Knesset Law Committee approved on Wednesday for a second and final reading a bill prohibiting the funding of terrorism including paying pensions or compensation to families of suicide bombers and others involved in terrorist activities, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The bill also paves the way for the government to declare activists or organizations as terrorist even if they do not act against Israel, as long as they have been declared as such by another country and the government believes the foreign country had just grounds for declaring them as such. In doing so, the bill will enable the state to participate in the international struggle against terrorism and not only against terrorism aimed directly at Israel.

According to an Israel Security Agency study, the use of children in attacks is now common among all the Palestinian terror organizations, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Since the outbreak of violence in September 2000, the number of Palestinian minors involved in terror has escalated. Up until the arrest on Thursday of Ahmed Bintawi - a 15-year old from Nablus, who had planned to launch a suicide attack in Israel - 126 minors were involved in planned and executed terror acts since the beginning of 2004, with a total of 309 in the past four years.

Children as young as 11 years old are easily persuaded to join the conflict with assurances that they will gain respect in the next life. Terror organizations then distance the young recruits from their families and schools and subject them to religious and nationalistic indoctrination.

Besides being influenced by programs broadcast on Palestinian Authority television encouraging them to support jihad, children are taught in schools and summer camps, under the banner of Islam, to back resistance acts against Israel and identify with martyrs.

More than one out of every five Israeli Jews has experienced the loss of a relative or friend through terror or war in the past four years of the Oslo and Road Map Wars, according to Israel’s news service ARUTZ SHEVA. This is the picture that emerges from a phone survey conducted by the University of Haifa's Center for National Security Studies.

The poll shows that 21.8 percent of Israel's Jewish population suffered the terror-related loss of a friend or relative since September 2000, and over a quarter of the Israeli public (28.1 percent) makes sure to stay away from events, persons, or situations that remind them of a terrorist incident. The terrorism of the past four years has, according to the respondents answering the phone poll, deteriorated to the extent that some two-thirds of the public report a drop in their confidence in the government's ability to protect them. Just over half the Israeli public - 51.8 percent - say they feel "less in control" of factors affecting their lives.

Center director Professor Gabriel Ben-Dor and research associate Dr. Daphna Canetti-Nissim, who arranged telephone interviews in late September with 1,613 respondents, conducted the poll. The researchers found that Israel's Arab population is even more despondent - despite the fact that they have been less exposed to terrorism-related suffering than Jews.


At the annual convention of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM), which was held this year at Duke University in North Carolina and drew some 500 activists, Israel was compared to South Africa under apartheid, called a "disease," and there were calls to stop American aid to Israel, HA'ARETZ reported. One of the main complaints against PSM - which Jewish organizations view as the most radical pro-Palestinian organization active on U.S. campuses - is that the movement refuses to condemn terrorism. At the convention, which ended Sunday, representatives voted on resolutions to change a clause in the organization's guidelines that stipulates a neutral stance on terror attacks. However, a majority defeated each resolution, so the movement maintains its refusal to condemn terror.


The number of Israeli fatalities in the current conflict with the Palestinians exceeded 1,000 last week according to the Israel Security Agency, HA'ARETZ reported. Only two of the country's wars - the War of Independence and the Yom Kippur War - have claimed more Israeli lives than the current wave of Palestinian terror, which began on September 29, 2000. In the Six-Day War, 803 Israelis lost their lives, while the War of Attrition claimed 738 Israeli lives along the borders with Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.

According to Israeli numbers, the current conflict has killed 2,124 Palestinians. The figures show that of the various Palestinian groups and organizations, Hamas has suffered the highest number of fatalities: 466. Fatah's Tanzim organization has lost 408 members and Islamic Jihad, 205. The Palestinian security forces - Force 17, the Palestinian police, General Intelligence, and the counter security apparatus - have lost 334 members.


Engineering faculty researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a system that can identify 95 percent of Internet pages with terrorism-related content, HA'ARETZ reported. The experimental system, which is being developed to detect information regarding terror activity automatically, was designed by Dr. Mark Last of the Department of Systems Information Engineering at BGU, and Prof. Abraham Kandel of the National Institute for Systems Test and Productivity, in the United States.

The system is based on the recognition of patterns in texts with terror content, based on examples from existing Internet sites. It uses these patterns to identify "hits" by surfers on other sites with similar characteristics, in order to locate users affiliated with terror organizations and new sites set up by terrorist elements, among other things.


An Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades cell killed a 16-year-old Palestinian in Beit Hanun today after the teenager's family attempted to protest the launch of Qassam rockets from their yard, HA'ARETZ reported. The terror cell, comprised of six men, arrived in a van at the Za'anun family's Beit Hanun home this morning and placed a Qassam rocket launcher adjacent to their house. One of the cell members opened fire on an armored Israel Defense Forces vehicle nearby.

Members of the Za'anun family came out of their house holding sticks and rocks, and tried to drive the Al-Aqsa terrorists from their yard, most likely fearing that their house would be demolished if Qassam rockets were fired from it. During the clash, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members opened fire, killing Hassan Za'anun and wounding three other family members.

The cell left the area following the incident, without firing the Qassam rockets.

Following a weekend of many attempted terrorist attacks in Gush Katif, alert soldiers helped prevent what could have been a particularly costly one on July 11. According to ARUTZ ZHEVA, IDF [Israel Defense Forces] forces at the Tufah crossing near N'vei Dekalim encountered an Arab arriving with an innocent-looking crate of cucumbers. Upon checking the shipment more carefully, the soldiers were surprised to discover five shrapnel grenades hidden among the vegetables. The grenades were later safely blown up, the terrorist was arrested, and "yet another miracle was registered in the annals of Gush Katif," according to Katif.net.

The anti-terrorism fence being built between Israel and the West Bank is saving lives every single day, MA'ARIV reported. Security sources note that a close examination of the statistics of terrorist attacks in the northern West Bank prior to the construction of the fence there, and similar stats following the completion of the fence shows a sharp decrease in terrorist activity. From August 2003 to June 30, 2004, terrorists operating from the northern West Bank managed to carry out three suicide attacks inside Israel, killing 26 Israelis and wounding 76. Meanwhile, in the 34 months since the beginning of Palestinian violence, the terror infrastructure in the northern West Bank succeeded in carrying out 73 attacks, in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1,950 were wounded. Since the fence's erection, an approximate 90 percent decrease in the number of successful terror attacks was registered. A sharp drop of approximately 70 percent was also recorded in the number of casualties resulting from terror attacks, from an average of 103 Israelis murdered a year prior to its construction, down to 28 the year following the completion of the northern section. In addition, the fence has enabled the thwarting of dozens of attacks.

Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz said today that the recent drop in the number of terror attacks stemmed from a changing trend in the abilities of terror groups, HA'ARETZ reported. "We are seeing a new trend," Mofaz said. "The level of terror is slowly declining. We must keep up the offensive operations. The pressure is working. The motivation of terror organizations is high, yet their capabilities have substantially decreased," Mofaz added.

A 75 percent decrease in suicide attacks and attempted suicide attacks during the first half of 2004 was registered, in comparison with the corresponding period last year. Since the beginning of the year 2,000 Palestinians have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in terror activities, including 58 potential suicide bombers. During the first half of the year, Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank managed to thwart all attacks associated with 103 terror alerts.

The Palestinian Authority has reportedly stopped transferring money to the Fatah's military wing - the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - and has been exerting efforts to prevent terror. The IDF believes the PA's recent steps to thwart terrorism come in response to the upcoming implementation of the disengagement plan.

Since the counter-terrorism fence's completion in their areas last August, many Arab communities - especially those bordering Palestinian villages - have enjoyed a spike in both security and economic activity, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Arabs who once hauled back millions of shekels worth of wares from nearby Jenin now shop locally. "God be blessed, the fence ended the parade of terrorists through this city and gave us an economic boom and increased security," says Umm el-Fahm City Manager Tawfiq Karaman. Until the completion of the fence outside Umm el-Fahm 10 months ago, locals in this city of 42,000, northwest of Jenin, had complained that Palestinians casually filtering through from the West Bank had harassed schoolgirls, stolen cars, and even snatched laundry. Worse yet, they stamped Umm el-Fahm as a launching pad for suicide bombers. Israeli checkpoints often blocked Umm el-Fahm's streets, and border policemen patrolled the city on a regular basis, hoping to pick up illegal Palestinian workers - or terrorists.

A new study documents the impact terrorist attacks have had on 11-to-15-year-olds in Israel, with one of out of four reporting that they fear for their lives, one out of three reporting that they fear for the lives of their family members, and over a third reporting that they have changed their patterns of travel and socializing for security reasons.

According to the JERUSALEM POST, the survey was conducted in 2002 among 6,196 Israelis between the ages of 11 and 15 from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds.

The research was led by Dr. Yossi Harel, director of the International Research Program of Adolescent Well-Being and Health at Bar-Ilan University, in a special supplement to the international World Heath Organization survey of students, conducted every four years.

A third of students indicated they had acquaintances wounded in an attack, and the same number said that in the last year a terrorist attack had occurred in the area in which they live. A fifth said that someone close to them had been in an attack and 14 percent said that person had been wounded. Additionally, 13 percent of students have themselves been at the scene of an attack.

As a result, 46 percent avoid certain types of transportation and 35 percent go out less. Forty percent worry that the state faces the threat of destruction. Female students worry about personal safety more than males, and Jewish students worry more than Arabs.

The findings didn't startle Yitzhak Kadman, director of the National Council for the Child - in fact, he thinks the percentage of students affected and afraid because of the security situation is even greater than those in the report.

He said essentially that every child his center encountered in an 18-month program of visiting schools to speak to students about terrorist attacks had some kind of response to the violence.

He added that most child psychology efforts are focused on students who have been personally involved in an attack or lost a classmate, and that parents of the "second circle" of less-affected students generally shield their children from the topic in a misguided effort to spare them.

He suggested providing opportunities for all students to talk about the situation. Harel advocated "holistic" programs, such as volunteering, preparing students how to handle an attack, and otherwise "empowering" students and bolstering their sense of responsibility.

Both indicated that the long-term effects of the security situation on children aren't yet known but are the subject of further research.

According to Kadman, however, "There is no question that the increase in violent behavior of children and youth is in part a reaction to the external violence they are exposed to."

An absolute halt in terrorist activities has been noticed in the West Bank areas where the fence has been constructed, Avi Dichter, Director of the Israel Security Agency, said today, HA'ARETZ reported. Dichter said that infiltrations into Israeli territory had emanated from areas where the fence had not yet been completed, such as Kafr Qasem and Jerusalem. He added that Israeli cities that had been the target of a large number of terrorist attacks in the past - such as Kfar Sava, Netanya and Hadera - were quiet since the fence had been erected.

Meanwhile, construction has started on the section of the West Bank security fence that will run from the community of Elkana near Rosh Haayin to the Israel Defense Forces base of Ofer near Ramallah, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. The 42-kilometer section of the fence is due to be completed by the end of 2004. Brigadier-General Eran Ofir, head of IDF logistics, estimated that another 200 kilometers of the fence would be built by the end of 2004, including the part around Jerusalem. The IDF spokesman and the police said they were aware of the difficulties the fence created for the residents of the east Jerusalem village of Sheik Saad. Israeli authorities are now working on making it easier for the villagers to reach the nearby village of Sawahra.

As part of the effort to prevent suicide bombers from boarding public buses, five terror-protected buses were to be handed to the Transportation Ministry today, HA'ARETZ reported. The official ceremony was postponed by the Ministry due to the suicide bombing on a bus in Jerusalem, which killed 8 people. The new buses are equipped with a special protection system featuring a turnstile near the vehicle's front door allowing passengers to board only after the driver's approval. The driver will be aided by an explosives sensor that can detect bombs a meter away from the bus. The rear door only serves for passengers to exit. The system, developed by the Israel Military Industries, costs between $30,000 to $50,000 per piece.


The Koby Mandel Foundation - the organizer of a summer camp for Israeli children who have lost parents or siblings in terrorist attacks - has announced that for the first time this year it will host religious teens from the United States and Canada on its six-week camp program, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The summer camp, which will be located in Kibbutz Negba, (near Ashkelon), will include recreational activities as well as counseling sessions for children whose relatives fell victim to terrorism.

The Foundation is named after Tekoa teenager Koby Mandel, who was murdered together with his friend Yosef Ishran, in May 2001. This year's program is geared to raise "Israel tourism awareness" among the American teens, the Foundation's spokesperson Lisa Barkan said, adding that, "the Foundation will educate the children about Israel, its culture and the land." For more information about the Koby Mandel Foundation Camp Koby, please visit: http://www.kobymandell.org/summer.htm

It has been reported in THE JERUSALEM POST that Transportation Minister Ncigdor Liebermail has authorized the use of a new security system for public buses that can detect suicide bombers and prevent them from boarding the vehicles.

The system, jointly developed by the bus manufacturing company Ha'argaz, the Transportation Ministry and TAAS-Israel Industries, consists of a barrier for the bus's front door, explosives detectors, and a back door to be used only for exiting the bus. The driver monitors passengers boarding his bus, and if anyone arouses suspicions, he presses a button to lock the turnstile, keeping the person off the bus.

Explosive detectors will assist the driver in inspecting passengers before they board the bus. The buses will also have a turnstile at the rear door to allow passengers to exit, while preventing bombers from climbing aboard from the back. Armored glass may also be installed beside the driver's seat and at the front of the bus to reduce the impact of an explosion.

If the pilot project is successful, the system could be installed later this year on the bus lines that are considered most vulnerable, Naid TAAS chairman Arye Mitzrahi. A more sophisticated version of the system includes electronic sensors to detect explosives up to a meter away, setting off an alarm near the driver.

The basic version will be installed in five buses within three weeks. Officials would not say in which city the buses would run. The more complex system would be installed on buses at a later date, Mizrahi said, refusing to give details about how the sensors work.

He said the project is part of the industry's effort to develop terror defense mechanisms. "TAAS sees this system firstly as a means to protect passengers' lives and afterwards as a solution that can be marketed around the world," Mizrahi said.

The basic model costs only about US $2,000, but the price of the most sophisticated kind can be as much as US $20,000 per bus, said Hagai Shalom of Ha'argaz. The same system could be installed at the entrance to cities and restaurants, which are also frequent targets of suicide bombers, the officials said.


As a result of Israel's efforts to target the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, the number of terror attacks in 2003 dropped by 50 percent and the number of people killed in attacks dropped by 30 percent compared with the previous year, HA'ARETZ reported. According to statistics published today by the defense establishment, 213 Israelis were killed in terror attacks in 2003, 50 were members of the security forces. In 2002, 451 Israelis were victims of Palestinian terrorism.

"One shouldn't get the mistaken impression that the Palestinians have abandoned their campaign of terror against Israel," David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said. "Fortunately, the Israeli security services have been able to prevent the overwhelming number of terrorist attempts."

Security sources said the decline in the number of terrorist attacks in 2003 was the result of, among other things, Israeli success in thwarting them. The security sources pointed out that terrorist organizations were now using different methods to carry out their attacks such as enlisting people with foreign passports, or using animals. The sources said the security fence had succeeded in preventing Hamas from carrying out many attacks in Israeli territory.

The Bush administration strongly condemned on Wednesday the deadly suicide bombing in Gaza as well as the statements issued by Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin inciting terror and violence against innocents, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The U.S. consul general in Jerusalem, David Pearce, spoke Wednesday with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei to underscore "once again, the need for the Palestinians to take the maximum effort to rein in those responsible for violence and for this particular vicious attack."

A total of seven Palestinian women have perpetrated suicide bomb attacks since the beginning of Palestinian violence in 2000. Twenty four additional women have planned to perpetrate such attacks but were apprehended by security forces before they could carry out their deadly mission. Of the sixteen Palestinian women who assisted terrorists and were arrested by security forces, ten were captured in 2003. On October 4 last year, Hinadi Malek Jeradat blew up at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa killing 19 Israelis.

It is not the first time terrorists have perpetrated attacks at border crossings into Israel, taking advantage of the easing up of restrictions granted to Palestinians civilians to enable them to work in Israel. Nine Israeli civilians and members of security forces have been killed in attacks at border crossings since September 28, 2000.

In an unprecedented show of support for a human bomb attack, Yasser Arafat's official radio greeted with elation the news of the latest suicide assault in the Gaza Strip.

"Citizen Rim al-Riyashi was heroically martyred when she carried out an explosive operation at the Beit Hanoun Junction, killing four soldiers of the occupation," declared Voice of Palestine Radio in its 4-PM newscast, about an hour after the attack in the Gaza Strip.

The style of the news item, which opened the afternoon news round-up, was more like a birthday greeting than a regular news report, stressing the woman's identity and "heroic martyrdom" repeatedly. There was no mention that she was a member of the Islamic terror group known as Hamas.

Arafat's VOP radio said Israel was to blame for the attack, and it offered no condemnation for the assault at the Gaza crossing point, which also serves as a place of employment and access into Israel for Palestinian laborers.

Security services have registered 52 terror alerts today since daybreak, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. A security alert has been announced for the Samaria region, where police and Israel Defense Forces are boosting their presence and setting up roadblocks along route 55 and in the vicinity of Oranit, Yakir and the Kfar Kassem outskirts.

The IDF arrested 9 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Tuesday, including one Islamic Jihad member near Ramallah, a Hamas member in Tulkarm, and two more west of Hebron.

The trial of Palestinian Authority legislator Hossem Hader opened this morning at the Salem Military Court. Hader, a Tanzim leader, is accused of aiding and funding terror attacks carried out by the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigade.

In other news, the coordinator of government activities in the West Bank and Gaza and the IDF announced on Tuesday the further easing-up of restrictions on the Palestinian population. After a prolonged period, the IDF reopened the Halhoul bridge to Palestinian traffic, thereby allowing passage between Halhoul and Hebron.

Scores of Palestinian stores located in close proximity to the Hebron Jewish community were also permitted to reopen, and roadblocks east of Halhoul and south of Meitzad, south of Bethlehem, were removed.

In recent weeks, the IDF removed roadblocks between Ramallah and Surda and the eastern entrance to Kalkilya. The number of merchants allowed to enter Israel from the West Bank has tripled and now stands at 9,000. Three thousand laborers from the West Bank who work in seasonal fruit picking and 6,000 other laborers were also able to enter.


Israeli security forces disrupted two imminent suicide bombings, HA'ARETZ reported. One of the attacks was to take place at a middle school in Yokne'am, near Haifa, while the target of the other was the city of Beit She'an. After interrogation, the pair of Palestinian suicide bombers told investigators that they had chose to infiltrate Israel via the northern Jordan Valley in the West Bank because Israel had not yet extended the security fence to cover that area.

Following the arrest on Tuesday of the Palestinian attempting to bomb Beit She'an, security forces declared a state of high alert in the north and police set up roadblocks and stop-checked vehicles passing through. The effort paid off as on Wednesday afternoon, an elite counter-terror police unit arrested would-be bomber Munir Rabeia, 23, of the Gaza Strip as well as his dispatcher, Murad Abu Zeitoun, of Zabuba, a village in the West Bank near Jenin.

Israeli officials noted that "what may appear to some people to be a lull Palestinian terror activity is actually a smokescreen for the continued efforts by these same terrorists to strike at innocent Israelis wherever and whenever they can."

In other news, a Palestinian woman arrived today at the Tarkomiya checkpoint and complained to soldiers that she had been beaten by 4 Hamas terrorists for refusing to serve as a suicide bomber, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The terrorists, who escaped in the direction of Kiryat Gat, are being chased after.

Israeli Security Service arrested two Hamas terrorists who recruited the suicide bomber who blew up the Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem September last year, killing 7 people. The two - Fuaz Nazer, 24 from Dir Kadis and Salah Mussa, 39 from Lakiya confessed to having recruited suicide bomber Ramez Abu Salim and other potential suicide bombers.


The Israelinsider reports that Israeli police are helping train their Greek counterparts in dealing with possible terror threats at next year's Summer Olympics.

As part of an international security advisory team training the Greek police, Israeli instructors have been giving lessons in hostage-taking scenarios, security inspections, and shooting and bombing attacks, Ma’ariv reported.

"Israelis are regarded in Greece as experts in the field of terror and security," a senior Israeli police officer said.

Next month, a "Terror Strategy" seminar will take place in Athens for hundreds of local policemen, and Israeli police have taken on responsibility for much of the training process.

Security forces have thwarted seven potential suicide bomb attacks in Israel - including a double suicide bombing that was to have taken place in Beit She'an - in the past ten days, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. On October 19, security forces arrested two senior terrorist commanders affiliated with the Islamic Jihad and Tanzim who were described by officials as 'ticking bombs'. The two, Said Zid and Yakub Jawadra, were planning to perpetrate an imminent suicide bomb attack in Beit She'an and later disclosed to security officials the whereabouts of the two explosive belts, each weighing ten kilos. In addition, Sami Jeradat, an Islamic Jihad commander, was arrested in Silat A Hartiyah. He was involved in the plotting of the suicide bomb attack at the Maxim restaurant earlier this month in which 22 Israelis were killed and scores wounded. Officials said Jeradat was also involved in the planning of additional attacks against Israelis.

During the last three years of Palestinian violence, there have been more than 100 suicide bombings across the country, which have killed almost five hundred people.

Arab foreign ministers addressing the 58th annual UN General Assembly on Sunday defended the actions of Palestinian terrorists and blamed Israel for provoking attacks throughout the region, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "We must avoid confusing terrorism and certain legitimate acts inspired by the wish to break the shackles of occupation, domination, and injustice," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said. Chairman of the Palestinian Authority's observer delegation to the UN, Farouk Kaddoumi, told the UN's 191 member states, that international norms protected the "right of occupied and colonized people to resist."

"The scourge of the Israeli occupation and continued aggression are the main reason for the suffering inflicted on our region," Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara said.

According to Shara, the Middle East "has been singularly more victimized than any other region," due primarily to Israel's existence and actions. Israel's occupation of the Palestinians, said Faisal, "represents an element of instability in the Middle East, dashing the hopes and ambitions in the Middle East for peace and development."

The ministers advocated for the adoption of new terminology to describe Palestinian terrorists. "When did the victims of occupation, settler colonialism, and population transfer become outlaws and terrorists without a just cause?" Shara asked during his speech.

In other statements to the General Assembly Sunday, Kaddoumi called Israel's current economic crisis "divinely ordained," and Faisal urged a specific Security Council reform: an end to US vetoes of anti-Israel resolutions.


Three years after the inception of violence, the outgoing Palestinian security chief said that Palestinians had made a mistake in using arms against Israel and failed to understand that the world had changed after September 11, HA'ARETZ reported. "Resorting to armed violence in certain phases of the Palestinian intifada, the way it was done in the past three years, proved to be detrimental to our national struggle," Mohammed Dahlan said on Sunday.

Dahlan, who served as security chief for four months under the outgoing prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, said the terrorist groups had been misreading the situation. "We had hoped that the various Palestinian factions would understand the new world that emerged after the events of September 11, 2001 and learn from their outcome," Dahlan said. "Each era of national struggle has its own characteristics and means. What is positive at a certain time might be counterproductive in other times," Dahlan added.

Meanwhile, according to THE JERUSALEM POST, a crowd of several thousand Palestinians demonstrated in the streets of Nablus to mark the anniversary of three years of violence against Israel. Leading the crowd were terrorists wearing fake explosive belts and burning a miniature Israeli bus.

Israel eased today a tight closure it had imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the two-day New Year's holiday that ended Sunday night. However, travel restrictions remained largely in place.


An Islamic Jihad terrorist murdered a seven-month-old baby and a 26-year-old man in the West Bank community of Negohot in an attack carried out on Friday night against a group of people celebrating Rosh Hashanah, HA'ARETZ reported. The gunman shot dead Shaked Avraham in her rocker, as well as Otniel Yeshiva graduate Eyal Yerberbaum. Married couple Nehemia and Dorit Krakover were lightly wounded in the shooting.

The terrorist - identified as Islamic Jihad's Mahmoud Hamdan, 22 - infiltrated Negohot after the start of the Jewish New Year, around 9:30 PM and was armed with an M-16 rifle and two hand grenades. He repeatedly knocked on the door of a home where several people were holding a Rosh Hashanah dinner but failed to answer the question "who's there?" Eyal Yeverbaum, who was armed with a pistol, went to open the door. As soon as he cracked it open, the terrorist fired two bullets, mortally wounding him. Yeverbaum, however, managed to slam the door shut, thus preventing the terrorist from entering the house. The terrorist then sprayed bullets through the door, hitting the baby girl in the chest. She was killed almost instantly.

The assailant was killed about two minutes after he first opened fire by Israel Defense Forces troops stationed near Negohot.

"The Palestinians have started the Jewish New Year with another bloody terrorist attack," David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said. "It's obvious that they've taken a New Year's resolution to continue with their trail of terror against Israel. The Palestinian Authority still refuses to take the necessary steps to rein in the terror and prevent such attacks from happening."


An article published in the New York Times today indicated that U.S. and Israeli officials shared an assessment that at least 50 percent of Hamas's current operating budget of about $10 million comes from Saudi Arabian contributors, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Israeli Prime Minister spokesperson Dore Gold stated that, "in fact, Israel found a handwritten letter by Mahmoud Abbas dated September 2000 that was sent by fax to Prince Salman, full brother of King Fahd and governor of Riyadh in which Abbas complained about Saudi funding to Al-Jamia Al-Islamia, a charity which Abbas explicitly stated 'belongs to Hamas'." Analysts estimate the Saudi donations as amounting to $5 million a year in cash, which makes it very difficult for Saudi and American authorities to track. American officials commented that after the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Saudi portion of Hamas financing grew as donations from the United States, Europe and other Arab countries came to a stop. According to a recent report in the New York Times, senior Hamas chief Khalid Mishal, who was recently added to the U.S. Treasury Department list of terrorist financiers, attended a fund-raising event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he talked at length with Saudi ruler Crown Prince Abdullah. The report quoted a summary of the meeting compiled by a Hamas official, according to which Mishal and other Hamas representatives thanked their Saudi hosts for continuing "to send aid to the people through the civilian and popular channels, despite all the American pressures exerted on them." Saudi officials denied the report, saying that their government's support for Palestinian causes went directly to the Palestinian Authority.

The Foreign Ministry announced this morning that the Israeli trekkers taken hostage last week-end by anti-government rebels in Colombia were still alive, HA'ARETZ reported. Six Israelis, along with four other foreign tourists, were captured while on a six-day hike to the "Lost City" - an ancient ruin on a jungle-covered mountain in the Sierra Nevada range. Two Israelis, Ron Atzmon and Dana Kidon, were separated from the group and managed to escape their captors on Monday. The four Israelis still missing are believed to be held in a remote area and have been identified as Benny Daniel, 26, and Orpaz Ohayon, 22, both from Ma'aleh Adumim; Ido Yosef Guy, 26, from Haifa; and Erez Altawil, 24, from Herzliya.

One of the freed Israelis, Ran Atzmon, told Israeli Channel 2 on Monday night that the captors had split the group into two and that his group had been taken to a house where their hands and legs were bound; they were then warned the door was booby-trapped and that any attempt to leave would trigger an explosion. Half an hour later, however, one of the tour guides opened the door, and he and his girlfriend managed to flee.

Colombia ranks first in the world for kidnapping, with nearly 3,000 people abducted each year. The assailants are believed to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been fighting to overthrow the government for nearly four decades. The FARC is the nation's largest and most brutal rebel group, currently holding dozens of political prisoners, including a former presidential candidate, and three U.S. military contractors whom the group intends to trade for jailed rebels.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe who was elected on the promise to crackdown on terrorists said on Monday that 1,500 soldiers and eight helicopters were deployed in the hunt for the kidnapped tourists.

One of Israel's premiere engineering schools, the Technion of Haifa, will award more than $100,000 in prizes and research grants to promote the struggle against terrorism, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The aim of the project is to improve the capabilities of Israel and its allies to defend themselves against terror. Benefactors of the Technion in the United States contributed the prizes after the September 11 attacks two years ago. "In view of the swift development of the capabilities of terrorists, an effective, innovative, swift, and sophisticated reaction is necessary," unnamed American donors said in a statement.

Prof. Avi Marmur, head of Technion's Institute for Future Defense Technologies, said that during these difficult times the Technion felt obligated to help by proposing effective solutions for the defense of the state and its citizens. "The contest that the Technion will conduct aims to mobilize its finest minds for the improvement of Israel's defensive capabilities against terrorism," he said.


Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem downplayed on Thursday the significance of a tactical cease-fire (hudna) arranged by the Palestinian Authority, describing it as "irrelevant," THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "This 'cease-fire' is poison covered in honey," said Gideon Meir, the Foreign Ministry's Deputy Director-General for Public Affairs.

According to Meir, the cease-fire may hold for a short while; but, once it disintegrates, Israel will be forced to react to stave off terror attacks and will most likely be blamed for "breaking the cease-fire." "This whole business is an internal Palestinian matter," Meir said. "If after the cease-fire [the PA] takes overall security responsibility in certain areas, that is good. If not, Israel will need to continue to do what the Palestinians aren't willing to do."

A senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said the cease-fire development was "none of Israel's business" and that the government was only concerned about whether PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas would fulfill the commitments he took upon himself at the Aqaba summit earlier this month. Referring to Israel's release of some security prisoners and the dismantling of some unauthorized outposts, the official said, "we have done our part, and made good on our commitments, now it is their turn. If there is any move forward, if there is a cessation of violence it won't happen by itself, but only if real steps are taken to stop the terror."

According to diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, Abbas hopes that the three-month cease-fire will buy him enough time to organize the PA's security apparatus and that an expected palpable easing of conditions of the population will help him gain popularity on the Palestinian street. Sources assessed that Abbas believed he would be able to deter Hamas from staging attacks without actually having to dismantle the organization.

In their final analysis, officials said that Hamas would agree to the cease-fire in an attempt to preserve its strength in light of the unrelenting Israeli military attacks that have taken their toll on the terror group's leadership.

Meanwhile, according to Israel Radio, KOL ISRAEL, coordinator of government activities in the territories Maj.-Gen. Amos Gilad and Palestinian Minister of State Security Muhammad Dahlan are expected to meet later today to discuss the final details the transfer of security control in Gaza and Bethlehem to the Palestinians. The two talked until 3am last night at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Herzliya Pituach and agreed to open the main north-south road in Gaza to unfettered traffic 24 hours a day.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, two Palestinian officials, Adel Al Mughrabi and Fathi Razam - a naval commander and a military aide to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat respectively - worked with terror group Hizbullah to have weapons shipped to the Gaza Strip, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Mughrabi and Razam - who were involved in the smuggling Karine A episode, where Israel intercepted a boat in the Red Sea with a cargo of 50 tons of weapons destined for the Palestinian Authority in January 2002 - are now linked to another arms smuggling attempt. On Wednesday, Israeli naval commandos seized an Egyptian-registered fishing boat - called the Abu Hassan - and captured an explosives expert from Hizbullah onboard. The ship was transporting dozens of bomb detonators, CD-ROMs on how to prepare explosives, and a radio-controlled activation system that could be used to fire rockets or detonate homicide bombs and remote-controlled explosives. Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom said "this is a new attempt to smuggle weapons and instructions for terror attacks, and there is no doubt Arafat was involved as he was in previous cases."

Israeli security officials said the boat left Egypt on May 16 and made its way to Beirut, Lebanon three days later, avoiding the normal fishing routes. Eight people were onboard the ship - including two Hizbullah operatives. IDF officials confirmed that one of the people arrested was a top Hizbullah explosives expert, Hamad Abu Amra. This was the first time Israel captured a member of south Lebanon-based terror group heading to the Palestinian areas to train terrorists. In the past, Palestinian terrorists have traveled to Lebanon to receive training. The boat was seized off the northern Israeli port town of Haifa. In May 2001, Israel seized another boat, the Santorini, shipping arms to the Palestinian Authority.


Israel's Prime Minister Spokesman Ra'anan Gissin said today that the recent five acts of Palestinian terrorism against Israel - carried out within a 48-hour period - was a clear challenge to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as a peace negotiator, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "Terror organizations are declaring war on Mazen's new government," Gissin said. "What complicates matters is that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat is striving to enhance terror, and he is doing everything possible to undermine Abbas' authority and instigate trouble."

According to a senior diplomatic official, Hamas and Islamic Jihad - supported by Iran and Syria - realize that should Abbas succeed in steering the PA onto a different track, their historical role would be terminated. "They are now fighting for their lives with instigation by and support from outside forces," the official said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz said that a decision had been reached to keep Arafat from receiving diplomatic visitors and that the Israel Defense Forces would continue its closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In addition, the IDF has transferred the family members of the terrorists responsible for the Hebron and Jerusalem bombings from their homes in Hebron to the Gaza Strip.


In the opening summer session of the Knesset on Monday, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz told members of the Likud party that Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat continues to wield power and is behind the recent rise of attempted terrorist attacks against Israel, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. He added that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Arafat are forming a center of power in opposition to PA Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

Meanwhile, Abu Mazen is planning to leave for Gaza soon in order to renew talks with Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. PA Minister of Information Nabil Amr said that "Abu Mazen will try to convince the Palestinian factions to end terror attacks since a window of opportunity has been open following the U.S. victory in Iraq and U.S. pressure on Syria to close offices of Palestinian opposition groups." According to PA sources, the Palestinian prime minister will give the Palestinian groups two weeks before deciding on further actions - this period is in line with the discussions held between U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Abu Mazen last Sunday according to which the United States would not object to the idea of trying to reach a cease-fire through dialogue. However, Powell did stress that "the PA must follow up by converting Hamas into a political movement and dismantling the terror infrastructure in the Palestinian areas."


A document drawn up by defense establishment officials charges that terrorist organizations in the Palestinian-administered areas, Lebanon and Syria transport terrorists and arms in UNWRA vehicles and take advantage of UN staffers to mask their activities, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Terrorists in Israeli captivity have admitted that they systematically used UNWRA facilities, equipment and vehicles to operate without being searched by Israeli security personnel.

The report takes the case of UNWRA employee Nahed Rashid Ahmed Attalah, 38, a resident of Jabaliyah in the Gaza Strip, who was arrested last August by security forces as he returned from Egypt. A director of food supplies for UNWRA, he was issued a UN vehicle and pass that let him travel unrestricted through the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel. In the report Attalah states that he used his UN credentials to transport terrorists and weapons. He transported Fatah terrorists in his car - which was never subjected to IDF checkpoint inspections - and used his pass to travel to Egypt, Lebanon and Syria where he contacted Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine officials and received both money and arms.


According to a public opinion poll conducted by the Gaza-based Palestinian Society for Culture, Science and Development, about 70 percent of Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip support the continuation of homicide attacks against Israel, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Another 64 percent condones Hamas' use of mortars and rockets. The poll surveyed 1,169 people and has a margin of error of three percent.

The poll also shows that 55.5 percent of the participants believe Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat decided to create the post of prime minister only because of international pressure. 27.3 percent said the decision was the result of Israeli pressure, while 9.5 percent said he made the decision as part of plans to reform the PA.

Meanwhile, according to YEDIOT AHARONOT, Palestinians throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip rallied and rejoiced when hearing the reports of Iraqi resistance to American and British troops and the capture of American POWs. "Everyone here was happy to see pictures of American soldiers in Iraqi custody," said a Palestinian policeman stationed at Arafat's Ramallah headquarters. Another policeman declared that, "this is a big day for the Iraqi people and all the Arabs and Muslims. This is a big blow for [U.S. President George W.] Bush and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair."

The Foreign Ministry has completed the rough draft of an international convention against suicide bombers and will soon begin distributing it to foreign governments in an effort to obtain enough signatures to make it a recognized as an international treaty, HA'ARETZ reported.

The draft contains three primary clauses:
* Inciting suicide attacks or providing assistance in perpetrating them will be defined as an international crime.
* States and organizations will be forbidden to offer financial support to the families of suicide bombers.
* A new international organization will be established, in coordination with the United Nations, to help states combat the phenomenon of suicide bombings.

The proposed convention is the brainchild of Alan Baker, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' legal adviser, who decided that a treaty was necessary after concluding that existing international agreements fell short of covering suicide attacks.

The ministry is now considering the best way to collect signatures for the treaty and has not yet decided whether Israel should spearhead the campaign, or whether it should let the United States and other countries take the lead. Though no foreign government has yet seen the Israeli draft, Baker has discussed the idea with his counterparts in several other countries. The United States, Russia, Turkey and India have all expressed great interest.

In addition, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held a special discussion this morning on global terror threats to Israel. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior security and intelligence officials attended the meeting to discuss the increasing exposure to attacks by Israelis since September 11, 2001. Among the attacks cited are the Los Angeles airport shooting at an El Al counter, the attempt to hijack an El Al plane over Turkey, and the hotel blast and attempt to down an Arkia plane in Mombasa.

According to the Israel Defense Forces' statistics, 447 Israelis were killed in terror attacks in Israel, and 3 outside the country (Kenya) in the year 2002, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. In addition, 2,344 Israelis were injured, including 604 members of security forces. The breakdown of the fatalities show that out of 450 Israelis, 295 were civilians and 155 were members of security forces; 302 men, 148 women, 57 children under the age of 18 and 58 senior citizens (over the age of 60) were killed. In addition, 17 foreign workers died. The statistics also show that 265 were killed within the Green Line, 182 in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and 3 abroad.

Furthermore, 2,208 terror attacks occurred in the West Bank during 2002, 3,056 in the Gaza Strip and 177 within Israel's home front. March was the most violent month, during which 109 Israelis were killed and 663 injured.


THE JERUSALEM TIMES (the independent Palestinian weekly) reports that the spiritual leader of the Islamic movement Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, said on Monday that halting suicide attacks would only serve the interests of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in next month's general elections. "The end of martyr operations (suicide attacks) would serve the interests of the Zionist right-wing and allow the terrorist Sharon to tell voters he had been able to make the operations stop and to guarantee their security," Yassin told a website close to Hamas. Yassin insisted suicide attacks "will carry on" and Israel "will have no security as long as the Palestinian people are subjected to occupation."

A senior Israeli defense official explained to the IDF website, that there have been 166 suicide bombers during the "Intifada Al-Aqsa." Of the 166 suicide bombers, 95 detonated themselves in 84 terrorist attacks.

The official explained that from 1993 until Dec. 16, 2002, there were 227 suicide bombers. From 1993 until Sept. 28, 2000 [the beginning of the current conflict] there were 61 suicide bombers, in which 43 succeeded in exploding themselves in 38 terrorist attacks.

ARUTZ-7 has pointed out that a movie clip on the Coalition Against Terrorism Website entitled "Seeds of Hate" includes the following segment on its sound track:

Young teacher: "We are teaching the children that suicide bombs are the only thing that makes the Israeli people very frightful. Furthermore we are teaching them that we have the right to do it. Moreover we are teaching them that the man who does it [suicide bombs] goes to the highest step of Paradise."

Narrator: "Palestinian psychologist Dr. [inaudible] Massalha conducted a study last year among Palestinian children aged 6-11. The most astonishing fact presented by Dr. Massalha was that more than 50% of children aged 6-11 dream of becoming suicide bombers who wear explosives belts. Dr. Massalha states that in about ten years, a very murderous generation will come of age, full of hatred and ready to die in suicide missions."

Narrator: "In a society in which the legitimization of child murderers becomes a part of its ideology, then normative human morality no longer exists. Which moral rules shall these children pass onto their children when they in turn become parents?"

[Child yelling, "I will eat the flesh of my conqueror," on the backdrop of Arab men yelling and holding up pieces of human meat.]

Narrator: "All of this has been orchestrated quite methodically by the Palestinian Authority... What kind of government calls upon its citizens to become uncompromising killers, while presenting itself to the world as a victim striving only for its peace? This untenable hypocrisy should not be tolerated by enlightened civilization - yet this is the reality happening here and now."

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman called a recent report by Amnesty International on the actions of the Israel Defense Forces during Operation Defensive Shield, "a one-sided account that ignores the fact that Israel is in the midst of an armed conflict that was imposed on it," MA'ARIV reported. "Israel is struggling to defend its citizens against Palestinian terrorism that is deliberately conducted from behind the civilian population, including the use of children and ambulances," the spokesman said. He added that "Israel regrets any harm to innocent people, and the Israel Defense Forces continue to make every effort to avoid harm to civilians."

IDF spokesman said they would have no official comment on the Amnesty report until they had fully studied it, however, they released the following statement "in its actions against terrorist infrastructure during Operation Defensive Shield, Israel was implementing its basic right of self-defense. The IDF acted with determination against these infrastructures, but took the required caution while operating among the civilian population."

The London-based Amnesty International's 76-page report detailed what it called "unlawful killings and abusive treatment of detainees" during the Israeli army's operations in Jenin and Nablus in April. But the report clearly states that no "massacre" was committed in Jenin and says the rumors spread when medical workers were not allowed to enter the refugee camp and relied on partial and incomplete testimonies of camp refugees. "Amnesty believes some of the acts by the IDF described are war crimes," the report stated.

The report is based on interviews with local residents, Palestinian officials, members of international humanitarian organizations, physicians, IDF officers, human rights organizations and Amnesty field workers. The report documents cases in which Palestinians were killed or injured under circumstances that suggest the IDF's disproportionate use of force, or the failure by the army to protect those not involved in the fighting.


Forty-eight children, all directly affected by terrorism in the last 2 years, took part in a special joint bar and bat mitzvah (coming-of-age) ceremony at the Western Wall on Monday, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "I know that God is looking down on me now," said one boy, who recently lost his brother and father in a terror attack in Ofra. Meanwhile, a young girl who survived the Dolphinarium attack in June 2001, made a plea for peace in Israel.

The celebration was attended by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Sallai Meridor, Minister of Tourism Yitzhak Levy, and Minister of Religious Affairs Asher Ohana, who all congratulated the children on their special day. "You have shown strength in the face of adversity. Every Jew in the world stands with you and loves you," Levy said in an address to the children, their families and friends.

The ceremony was organized by the Jewish Agency's Fund for Victims of Terror, which organizes programs and offers financial assistance to victims. The fund is currently launching a new initiative that will see the opening of $5000 bank accounts for each child orphaned by terror.

The family of Yoni Jesner, the Glasgow teenager killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, have decided to make aliyah to Israel, according to THE HERALD, a United Kingdom newspaper.

Ari Jesner, 26, said the death 11 days ago of Jonathan "Yoni" Jesner, his 19-year-old brother, had strengthened their allegiance to the Jewish state. The brother, currently a trainee solicitor living in London, said that he intends to move to Jerusalem after qualifying and that his mother, Martha, and Jaffray Gladstone, his stepfather, plan to follow.

"Yoni's death has tied us closer to the state. It reinforces the importance of the state of Israel to the Jewish people," said Mr. Jesner. "It's all we've got. We're really fighting for our life. The tragic events have made me realize it's all the more crucial to be here…The Arab side doesn't realize that we don't intend to go anywhere. They're not going be able to get rid of us."

Yoni who died in an Israeli hospital after his parents gave doctors permission to switch off his life-support machine. Yoni's kidneys were donated to save a seven-year-old Palestinian girl.

Yoni's mother, a teacher at Scotland's only Jewish primary school, and his grandmother flew to Israel as soon as they received news of the attack. His father, Joseph, is already living in Israel.

The army's policy of razing houses belonging to terrorists and their families continues to save Jewish lives. A Hebron Arab, yesterday, turned in his son, a Hamas member, to IDF forces. KOL RINA NEWS AGENCY reports that the father told the Israelis that his son was planning a terrorist attack, but "I don't want my house demolished."

IDF forces razed the home of an organizer of the Park Hotel Pesach Seder Massacre in Tul Karem last night. The police, with the strong backing of Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, have also recommended that the homes of the Jerusalem Gang members arrested this past week be destroyed as well. These terrorists, permanent residents of Israel, murdered 35 Jews, including 5 Americans, in three separate attacks; carried out five other attacks, including placing bombs on fuel trucks and train tracks; and were about to carry out another mass attack when they were arrested. No Israeli-Arab terrorist has yet had his home destroyed in the current war.

YEDIOT ACHARONOT military commentator Alex Fishman, writing about the ramifications of the capture of the Israeli-Arab terrorist cell, has this to say:

"...The time has come to open our eyes and admit: Most of the resident of eastern Jerusalem do not identify with the State of Israel, they do not feel part of it, but rather see themselves part of the Palestinian state [sic]. Therefore, so long as we don't take away their Israeli ID cards, there is no security value in building a separation fence around Jerusalem, since a considerable portion of them - some tens of thousands of residents in eastern Jerusalem - live outside the municipal boundaries of the city at all... This home-based terror is so dangerous that we need to create a deterrent immediately, even a brutal one, so that members of this cell will not become a model for other 'Israeli Arabs.'"


THE JERUSALEM POST reports that Egypt’s most prominent Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Al Tayeb, defended the Palestinians’ use of suicide bombings against Israel in a Wednesday interview with Agence France Presse.

Describing suicide attacks as "the sole means of struggle which the Palestinians have in current circumstances," the Mufti said that "We have a strong (Israeli) army and a very weak people, and this people has not found another means of defending itself… thus we should not say that it should not be done."

He added, "Islam bans fighting civilians, women, children, but on condition that there are two armies present." In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Mufti said, this condition was not applicable, hence the Palestinians are free to resort to suicide attacks even if they result in the loss of civilian lives. "If the Palestinian people had an army," he said, "then these attacks would be forbidden."

The Mufti, who teaches philosophy at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, was appointed to his post by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.


A recent report by human rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinian armed groups or individuals as crimes against humanity, finding no justification for them under international law, JERUSALEM POST reported.

In a report launched in Gaza, Amnesty International documented 128 attacks by Palestinian groups or individuals, which claimed 350 civilian lives since September 2001, most of them Israeli.

Palestinian officials rejected this report, dismissing it as biased and unbalanced. Palestinian Authority Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Abdul Rahman said, "all that is happening to Israeli citizens is a normal consequence for their occupation."

153 soldiers died in the first six months of 2002, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. 105 were killed in terror attacks or other violence perpetrated by Palestinians, and thirty died in accidents, either on or off duty. 26 soldiers were severely injured, and 69 were moderately injured, either in combat or in terror attacks. According to figures complied by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, this is the highest number of casualties the IDF has suffered in over ten years.

President Moshe Katsav paid his respects on Tuesday to the Shabo family, which lost four of its members last week when a terrorist entered their home in Itamar and opened fire, killing the mother and three children, MA'ARIV reported. During the visit, the President was presented with a letter written by a soldier who was part of the rescue force, to Aviah, 13, one of the siblings of the Shabo family, who was seriously wounded in the attack.

"Aviah, you are a very brave girl. I will never forget your face that day. You've captured my heart forever. We need a lot of courage to get over the bad and keep on going, you have to keep on going. We all have to. I wanted to tell you a secret and I think you are old and mature enough to understand, on that night we were suppose to go into Nablus. Unfortunately, we entered the city after the terrible incident in Itamar. The look that you gave me and the amazing courage that you displayed that night, gave me a lot of courage to go on and continue the difficult mission. I was not afraid of anything and I know it's because of you. Aviah, I hope that you and your brother Asael will feel better soon and get back to your family. Someone told me that you have a great family that will support you and take care of you, and that is the biggest treasure a person can ask for."


The family of Vadim Norzich, the Israel Defense Forces reservist who was lynched by a Palestinian mob in Ramallah last year, will establish an international museum commemorating victims of terrorism worldwide, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. The museum will be built in Or Akiva, Norzich's hometown.

Vadim's sister, Tatiana Norzich-Brienberg, said that she and several other women whose loved ones were killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks had already begun raising funds for the museum. "We know it's a serious challenge," she said, "but we will succeed. We want to commemorate all those individuals around the world who lost their lives in terror attacks." She added that the museum will feature the names, pictures and biographies of terror victims, and will also research terrorism and the means to combat it.

Norzich-Brienberg also said that she intends to organize a fund-raising event in September, auctioning artwork by children from Israel, Russia and the United States.

National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel
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