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>Israel Faxx
>PD Feb. 13, 1995, V3, #30

Egypt Says No to Nuclear Treaty

By Peyman Pejman (Cairo)

Egypt says it will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when it comes to a vote at the United Nations in April. Egypt appears determined to link its signature to that of Israel. President Hosni Mubarak's tough new position was laid out Sunday in an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat. Asked whether he will sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty -- the NPT -- Mubarak's reply was: "I will sign the day Israel signs."

In recent months Egypt has insisted that Israel -- which is believed to have a stockpile of nuclear weapons -- sign the treaty. Without Israel's agreement, in the Egyptian view, there can be no meaningful peace in the Middle East.

Israel refuses to sign the treaty until countries like Iran and Iraq open their nuclear facilities for international inspection.

Israel Stops Oil Shipments Into Gaza

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

The PLO-ruled Gaza Strip is fast running out of fuel. Israel halted shipments after the attack last week on Israeli security guards accompanying a fuel convoy into Gaza. The attack killed one of the guards.

Last week, unidentified gunmen opened fire on two Israeli civilian guards who were protecting a convoy of gasoline trucks making deliveries to filling stations in the Gaza Strip. One man was killed and a second seriously wounded.

Israel suspended all fuel deliveries, although Israeli fuel tankers arrived Sunday at Gaza's southern border crossing to transfer fuel, but did not enter the Strip. Gaza's supplies of gasoline and kerosene for heating homes have almost run out.

Abu Alaa, in charge of economic affairs for the Palestinian self-rule authority, says Gaza has only enough fuel to move cars for two days. "We will import from abroad, from Jordan, from Egypt, we do not need the Israeli government."

Israeli Energy Minister Gonen Segev is considering a proposal for Palestinian vehicles to tow Israeli fuel tankers into the Gaza Strip.

Human Rights Watch Accuses Jews and Arabs of Abuse

By Chris Simkins (New York)

A report released Sunday by a US-based human rights organization accuses the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government of committing human rights abuses in the Gaza Strip and Jericho. According to Human Rights Watch, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are both to blame for an escalating number of human rights violations taking place in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

The New York-based organization, in its first-ever detailed report on conditions in the two self-rule areas, says widespread human rights violations threaten the prospects for peace in the occupied territory.

The 50-page human rights report is based largely on information obtained by observers who visited the Gaza Strip and Jericho. Christopher George, executive director of Human Rights Watch Middle East, says over the last year the Palestinian police force has arbitrarily arrested and assaulted political activists and journalists.

The human rights report also criticizes the Israeli government for imposing unnecessary travel restrictions that have caused economic hardships for thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel. George says most of the travel restrictions were put in place following terrorist attacks in Israel.

"We  are  not  saying that Israel does  not  have a right to close
its borders. But what we are saying is the welfare of the
population has to be weighed against the often dubious effect of
closing a border. It has never been demonstrated that people
(Palestinians) with valid work permits have been involved in the violent incidents that have happened recently in Israel." Neither officials at the Israeli Mission in New York nor the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Washington would comment on the allegations made in the report. The human rights group is urging Israel to grant Palestinians the right of free movement, allowing them access to jobs, education, and medical care facilities in Israel. The human rights organization also wants both parties to use human rights as a guide for the process of establishing peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian Closure Remains in Effect

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem) Israel's Cabinet on Sunday decided to maintain its ban on Palestinians entering Israel for at least another week. The closure was imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip after 21 Israelis were killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber last month. The closure prevents tens of thousands of Palestinians from getting to jobs inside Israel. The Palestinian economy is still heavily dependent on Israel. Public opinion polls show that a majority of Israelis oppose any easing of the ban.
Palestinians charge that by maintaining the closure, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is trying to improve his sagging popularity with the Israeli public. Ahmed Korei or abu Alaa -- in charge of economic affairs in the Palestinian self-rule authority -- says the problem of Palestinian unemployment is so serious, there can be no comprehensive peace settlement without solving it. "The closure is the most thing that harms the Palestinians. It is a collective punishment."
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