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Sunday, 9 December, 2001, 13:01 GMT
New York solidarity with Israel
George Pataki (left) and Michael Bloomberg (right, front) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
Pataki (left) and Bloomberg showing support for Israel
New York's most senior elected officials, including city mayor Rudolph Giuliani, mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg and state governor George Pataki have been making a lightning visit to Israel to express solidarity with the beleaguered Jewish state.


The American and Israeli people... cannot let the terrorists win

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
The visit has taken in flashpoints in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - including holy sites in Jerusalem, a settlement on the outskirts of the city and the locations of recent suicide bombings by Palestinian militants.

There was more bloodshed only hours earlier: Israeli forces killed four Palestinian policemen during a raid on a village in the West Bank and a botched suicide bombing in Haifa resulted in the death of the bomber and a number of injuries.

Workmen put placard on Jerusalem Street renaming it New York Street
A hasty reversion to the honour paid to New York in September
On Sunday, the New York leaders planted a tree in the Ben Yehouda district, which suffered a bomb attack on 1 December which left 11 youths dead.

One hundred metres away, they stopped off at the Sbarro pizza restaurant, where a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on 9 August killing himself and 15 other people, including one US citizen.

"The American and Israeli people have to keep going out," Mr Giuliani said. "We cannot let the terrorists win."

Just before they arrived, Jerusalem city officials pasted a placard reading New York St in Hebrew, Arabic and English over the street sign in front of the restaurant.

Flashpoints

Mr Giuliani visited Gilo, an area south of Jerusalem which Israel says is a suburb of the city, but which under international law is considered an illegal settlement on occupied land.

The area has witnessed frequent exchanges of gunfire instigated by Palestinian militants who have been waging a 14-month uprising against the Israeli occupation.

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at the Western Wall
Catholic Mayor Giuliani followed Jewish tradition at the Wall
Earlier, the officials visited the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, the holiest site in Judaism, thought to be the last remnant of original Jewish Temple built in ancient times by King Solomon .

The area, which includes the mosque of Al-Aqsa, has proved a dangerous flashpoint in Israeli-Arab tensions.

Mr Giuliani, a Roman Catholic, followed Jewish tradition by writing a prayer and inserting it in between the wall's bricks.

On a trip to the United States last week, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was taken to the scene of the World Trade Center attack in New York.

See also:

05 Dec 01 | Middle East
Israel castigated for 'rights abuses'
04 Dec 01 | Americas
US targets Hamas finances
04 Dec 01 | Middle East
Outrage at Israeli strikes
04 Dec 01 | Europe
Europe urges Israeli restraint
04 Dec 01 | Middle East
Israeli papers agonise over Arafat
05 Dec 01 | Middle East
Q&A: Moving against Arafat?
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