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>Israel Faxx
>PD Jan. 12, 1995, V3, #8

Nuclear Weapons: Israel and Iran

By Larry James (Paris) and Kim Reid (Cairo)

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres indicated Wednesday that Israel will not sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty when it comes up for renewal in April. Peres spoke after talks with French officials -- one day after Egypt said Israel was threatening peace efforts by stockpiling nuclear arms.

Peres did not respond directly when asked if Israel would sign the non-proliferation agreement, saying only that Israel has no intention of introducing nuclear weapons into the Middle East. He said peace must come to the region first.

The minister said there are countries led by Iran which intend to destroy the State of Israel. "Iran's aim is to destroy Israel and we have no reason to tell the Iranians 'Please go ahead,'" Peres said.

He spoke following talks with his French counterpart, Alain Juppe. It is believed the issue came up during their discussions since earlier this week France called on Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation pact.

Israel is thought by experts to have about 200 nuclear weapons. There have been recent reports that both Israel and the United States think Iran is trying to develop its own nuclear arsenal. It has been suggested that Israel might want to destroy Iranian nuclear installations just as it did an Iraqi nuclear center in a 1981 air raid.

Iran's First Deputy Foreign Minister Mohamed Hashemi, on a visit to Kuwait, says the United States is trying to stir up trouble for his country. US and Israeli officials have suggested that Iran may use a nuclear power plant, now under construction, to build nuclear weapons.

Iran caused controversy recently when it commissioned Russia to finish a long-incomplete nuclear power plant. Construction was halted in 1979 by the Iranian revolution.

US Defense Secretary William Perry, on a Middle East-South Asia trip, said earlier this week that he is very concerned about Iran's nuclear potential. Perry and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin say the Persian Gulf nation could develop nuclear weapons in seven to 15 years.

But the Iranian minister says his country poses no nuclear threat to its neighbors, nor does it intend to. He adds that Iran supports the idea of a nuclear-free zone in the area. The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna says it has found no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Iran has signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, something Israel has refused to do.

Clashes Becoming a Daily Way of Life on West Bank

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

Israeli troops have clashed with Palestinian protesters yet again over the status of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The issue of the settlements has come to the forefront of the Israeli- Palestinian peace process. Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians over Jewish settlements have become an almost daily occurrence in the West Bank.

While the names of the places have changed, the scenario has repeated itself in recent weeks. Jewish settlers claim a piece of West Bank land as part of an existing settlement. Palestinians living nearby say the land is theirs. The Israeli army tries to separate the two sides.

On Wednesday, it was at Kifr al-Deek. On Tuesday, the place was Elkana. Last month, it was at El-Khader near Bethlehem.

The 1993 peace agreement between Israel and the PLO said Israel would gradually withdraw from the West Bank. But the settlements were to remain in place until negotiations were held at a later date.

Now, say analysts, the issue is jeopardizing the continued lmplementation of the agreement.

Palestinian leaders are under pressure from their supporters to take a firm stand against the expansion of the Jewish settlements. The PLO leadership has increasingly expressed the view that the peace talks cannot go on until the settlement issue is resolved.

Israel Contracts to Maintain Russian Planes

Maintenance contracts by the Israeli Aircraft Industries with companies in Russia and other C.I.S. countries, will help bring about more penetration of their markets, says Mordechai Handel, director of the plane-maintenance department of the Bedek Branch of the Israeli Aircraft Industries.

The Israeli company is the first in the world to engage in maintaining C.I.S. passenger planes. When the Soviet Aeroflot company split up into hundreds of small aviation companies, it was necessary to improve their maintenance activities urgently, to enable their planes to fly to Western Europe and the U.S. The Israeli company is doing this for several of those airlines.

Rare Brain Surgery Takes Place Without Opening the Skull

A rare brain operation was recently carried out at the Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem in Jerusalem in which a benign tumor on the audial nerve was removed without the skull being opened.

The patient, a 50-year-old man, had gradually lost his hearing; an examination discovered the growth in the inner ear canal, pressing about one centimeter into the brain cavity. The doctors drilled into his ear and, with state-of-the-art instruments, widened the canal and removed the growth. One of the surgeons, Prof. Yosef Elidan, said such operations had hitherto been carried out only by opening the skull, which had a high degree of danger. Going through the ear instead eliminated complications and made recovery much faster.

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