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>Israel Faxx
>PD Jan. 11, 1995, V3, #7

Israel Rescues Chechen Jews

As Israel Faxx exclusively reported last month, Israel has evacuated most Jews from war-torn Chechnya. By airplane and overland, Jews were evacuated to Israel and European locations. Israel's "Law of Return" provided automatic sanctuary and citizenship to hundreds of assimilated Jews, many of whom had intermarried with the local predominantly Muslim population.

Arafat and Mubarak Discuss Settlements

By Kim Reid (Cairo)

PLO Chief Yasir Arafat avoided reporters after meeting Tuesday in Cairo with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Foreign Minister Amr Moussa. Moussa told reporters that the PLO and Egypt agree that new construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is one of the main obstacles to peace.

Moussa says settlement construction of any sort is against international law, and violates the 1993 peace deal signed by the Israelis and the Palestinians. He says the subject will figure prominently in talks between Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sometime next week.

Grand Mufti Explains 'Jihad'

By Mike Creadon (New York)

Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the grand mufti of Egypt and the highest Islamic official in his country, is in the United States this week on a goodwill visit to promote what he calls "the open face of Islam."

The mufti said one of the purposes of his visit is to clarify what he called Western misperceptions of the Islamic world. He said, for example, he defines the Arabic word "jihad" which is often translated in the West as "holy war," as "neither terrorism, nor murder, nor oppression. But it is, in Islam, a defense of human life."

"Islam is certainly not the few incidents of violence or terrorism that they (Westerners) hear about once in a while. But it is a deep-well of religious faith and goodwill that is enjoyed by neighbors in Egypt and the entire Muslim world."

IDF Forcibly removes Settlers

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israeli army troops forcibly removed a group of Jewish settlers from a site on the West Bank before dawn Tuesday, when they tried to establish an unauthorized settlement at the spot where a Jewish woman was killed last week.

Troops operating under standing orders to prevent unauthorized settlements moved in to disperse the crowd. Several dozen settlers who did not agree to leave the area and who disrupted traffic on the main route were dispersed while arguing with the security forces. Fourteen settlers were arrested, but most of them were released shortly afterward.

Rabin Strolls Through East Jerusalem

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited sites in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem Tuesday for the first time since he was elected two years ago. The prime minister used the occasion to restate Israeli claims to all of the city.

It might have been a normal visit to neighborhoods of the capital for any government leader. But Israeli government officials acknowledge this was different. Rather, they say, it was an opportunity for Rabin to make a political statement -- to reaffirm Israel's claim to sovereignty over all of the city, including parts captured in the 1967 war.

Rabin said it is his top priority to maintain Jerusalem as a united city and as Israel's capital. He also reasserted his party's position that for security reasons, Israel must hold onto other parts of the occupied territories, too, even as it makes plans to expand the areas under Palestinian autonomy.

One Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the prime minister's visit was designed to respond to repeated public statements by Palestinian officials that their goal is to create a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Moderate Israelis and Palestinians have suggested that the city might be shared, and some say it could be divided again, as it was from 1948 until 1967. But Israeli officials say that while they have agreed to discuss Jerusalem with the Palestinians, they will never do anything to change its borders or status.

Woolsey Speaks Out on Islam

By David Gollust (Washington)

Outgoing Central Intelligence Agency Director James Woolsey, in Senate testimony Tuesday on threats to US security interests, stressed Iran's connection to international terrorist activity. Woolsey says Iran is actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

Woolsey said Iran has an offensive biological weapons program and a clandestine program to build nuclear arms -- though it is likely to be sometime early in the next decade before Iran has enough fissionable material to actually assemble a bomb.

In some of the most detailed public comments by a US official on the Iranian arms effort, Woolsey said the timetable could be shortened considerably -- if Iran is able to acquire enriched uranium from foreign sources, including organized crime elements.

He stressed that the United States does not see itself at odds with the Islamic fundamentalist movement in general: "The United States has no quarrel with devout Islam. The real problem from our point of view is that some nations -- and Iran is front and center and Sudan is not far behind it -- are using or trying to use this resurgence in religious feeling, very understandable resurgence in religious feeling, in the Muslim world as a source of political power -- as a source to promote terrorism and violence."

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