Newsletter : 4fax0927.txt
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Israel Faxx \/ / \/ /
Sept 28, 1994 Volume 2, #176 / /\__/_/\
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Arab Shall Not Kill Arab; Only Israelis
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
The Radical Palestinian Group, Hamas, has issued a statement
calling on its supporters not to kill other Palestinians and not
to defy the Autonomy Authority by carrying weapons openly. The
move is the latest in a series of indications that the
potentially explosive rift in the Palestinian movement may be
Ten days ago, Hamas fighters had a shootout with armed, uniformed
men they considered their enemies. No, not the Israeli army, but
members of the Palestinian police force of Yasir Arafat's Autonomy
The incident, which left a police captain dead, led to the most
significant moves toward easing the internal Palestinian conflict
since tempers flared a year ago over Arafat's decision to make
peace with Israel. Four days after the shootout and the arrest of
six Hamas men for being part of it, Arafat met with Hamas leaders. By
the time the meeting was over, he had agreed to release three of
the Hamas fighters and to consider several Hamas requests designed
to reduce tensions.
One Hamas official said last week Arafat had "defused a bomb," and
late Monday the group issued its new policy calling for an end to
intra-Palestinian violence. The Hamas leaflet, distributed in
Gaza, says no Palestinian blood should be shed, regardless of
political views. And it says its relations with all Palestinians
are based on dialogue and understanding. Hamas also vows to
continue fighting Israel, and Israelis are not covered by the ban
The group also orders its fighters not to openly violate the
Autonomy Authority's order banning weapons, which was what caused
the shootout earlier this month. Last week, it asked Arafat to
exempt at least some of its members from the order, particularly
those sought by Israel.
Hamas says it will continue fighting the peace process -- and
there are other radical groups which also commit terrorism in the
area. But the easing of tensions with Hamas is important to Arafat
as he tries to convince Israel that he can control violence and
that autonomy should be expanded beyond just Gaza and Jericho,
perhaps by the end of this year.
Female Circumcision May Be Banned in Egypt
By Peyman Pejman (Cairo)
Egypt's population minister says his government wants to pass
legislation banning female circumcision but he adds that violators
would not be punished too severely in the beginning.
Population and Family Affairs Minister Maher Mehran says the
Egyptian government plans to introduce legislation at the next
session of parliament in November that would ban female
Currently, female circumcision by government-approved midwives
and health clinics is banned. But that does not stop the
operation from being carried out in private.
There are no exact figures on how many cases of female
circumcision there are in Egypt, but more than half of the
country's women and post-puberty girls are believed to have been
subjected to the practice.
Mehran outlined the government's plans in an interview with the
semi-official newspaper Al Ahram. He said the proposal would make
female circumcision a criminal offense, punishable by law. The
minister said female circumcision is very dangerous to the country
and added that the practice should be eradicated.
In the interview, Mehran said that although violators of the
proposed law would be punished, the penalties might not be dealt
with too severe initially because circumcision is, in his words, a
Female circumcision came under intense criticism at the UN
sponsored population conference, held in Cairo earlier this month.
And the Egyptian government found itself in an embarrassing
position after CNN News broadcast graphic pictures of a 10-year-old
Egyptian girl being circumcised.
Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty May Be Near
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israel's Foreign Ministry has confirmed there are plans for a
high-level Israel-Jordan meeting in Washington early next week.
But a senior official is denying reports of a breakthrough and
plans to sign a peace agreement within a few weeks.
The plan is for Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Jordan's
Crown Prince Hassan to meet at the White House -- as they did last
year to start the intensive stage of the Jordan-Israel peace
effort. Several months later, the Israeli prime minister and
Jordan's king signed a document ending the 46-year state of war
between their countries and pledged to start negotiations on the
full details of peace.
Now, some news reports predict the White House meeting next week
will include announcement of full agreement on a comprehensive
peace treaty and a signing date a few weeks later. But Israel's
Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin told Israel Radio that is
"Every such meeting is promoting the peace process. And the
ability of the leaders of the region to sit together and talk under
the auspices of the American president is the best opportunity to
deal with some of the hurdles on the way. But I don't believe we
are expecting a breakthrough in this meeting. We still have some
problems on the issues of the border and water between the
Jordanians and ourselves and we will need, I presume, some months
before these problems are being solved."
Israeli and Jordanian negotiators have announced a series of
agreements on new border crossings, tourism and other subjects.
Some aspects of the talks have been postponed until after the
Washington meeting because the chief Jordanian negotiator is
already in the United States.
Rabin Oks New West Bank Housing
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has approved the first new
housing in a West Bank settlement outside the Jerusalem area since
he took office two years ago.
The controversial move came just one day after Rabin met with the
Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, to try to move their joint peace
effort forward. Rabin approved the construction of apartment
buildings in a settlement just 1.2 miles inside the occupied
territories, northeast of Tel Aviv.
The settlement, Alfei Menashe, is adjacent to the area where Israel
is only about nine miles wide, according to its pre-1967 borders.
Israel is expected to give control of all of the occupied
territories to the Palestinians within a few months. But
Palestinian autonomy will not include the Israeli
settlements -- at least not at this stage.
Palestinian leaders immediately condemned the decision. They
object consistently to Israeli construction in the occupied
territories, although most of it has been limited to the area
around Jerusalem since Rabin took office. At that time, he
pledged not to approve any new construction outside the
Jerusalem area as part of a deal in which the United States
provided loan guarantees for other Israeli construction projects,
Jerusalem's Mayor Calls for Talks on City's Status
Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert has called for immediate talks between
Israel and the PLO on Jerusalem's final status. Olmert reasons that
immediate negotiations will reveal that the Labor-led government
really is willing to make concessions regarding Jerusalem, despite
claims to the contrary.
"After everything is dealt with - the Golan and the other
territories are returned - the issues of Jerusalem will be raised,
and the government will then tell us that compromise must be made
on Jerusalem, or the entire agreement will be destroyed," said
Olmert. "If the government is indeed firm in its stated position
that Jerusalem must remain undivided, it is essential that this be
made clear immediately," he added.
New Immigrant Seeks To Enter Israeli Air Force
Citing sexual discrimination, a recent immigrant from South Africa
has petitioned the High Court of Justice to force the Israeli air
force to allow her to join a pilot training course.
Alice Miller, 22, brought the petition with the support of the
Association for Civil Rights in Israel after the air force rejected
her application to take the training course.
She claimed sexual discrimination alone was behind the rejection,
since she had obtained a civilian air pilot license before
emigrating to Israel and has since earned a degree in aeronautical
engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in
The air force, which was given 45 days to prepare its response to
Miller's petition, said its refusal to let her take the course was
based on the Israel Defense Force's opposition to allowing women to
serve in combat areas.
The IDF already employs women soldiers as instructors for tanks,
artillery and other front-line equipment, but not in combat.
Miller claims that the IDF policy not only prevents her from
becoming a fighter pilot but also bars her from most senior army
positions, since even posts such as the chief education officer
require experience in combat units.
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