Newsletter : 5fax0615.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 15, 1995, V3, #109
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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"Smart Outlet" Against Electrocution
A new "smart" electrical outlet has been patented internationally
after being invented in Israel; it protects children from
electrocution. It was shown at the 1995 Electricity Exhibition in
Jerusalem. It was devised by Haim Nevo of Kiryat Bialik, who owns
an electricity store, and has a hidden control switch which checks
the entry of unsuitable objects and turns off the current unless a
fully appropriate plug is inserted.
Muslim Could be Assassinated Because He Married a Non-Muslim
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
An Egyptian appeals court has ruled that a university professor and
his wife must be divorced on the grounds he is an apostate
(defector from his faith). The professor was brought to court in
1994 by Islamic fundamentalists who accused him of insulting Islam
through critical writings and teachings. The professor's wife says
they may have to seek political asylum in another country.
The divorce case was first presented in court a year and a half
ago. A group of Islamic fundamentalist lawyers demanded the court
force Prof. Nasser abu Zaid and his wife to divorce on the grounds
that he was an apostate and marriage between a Muslim and a heretic
was not valid. The lawyers accused abu Zaid of insulting Islam
through his critical writings and teachings at Cairo University.
He and his wife learned of the lawsuit when they read a story about
it in the newspaper. The case sparked an uproar among secular
writers and thinkers in Egypt who fear an attack against freedom of
expression. They supported the professor's argument that his
writings were not an attack against Islam but only an analysis of
the language of the Koran.
The court rejected the case and most people thought the controversy
had been put to rest. Now an appeals court has reversed that
decision and ruled the professor and his wife must be separated
because he is an apostate.
The new ruling has once again set off alarm bells among secular
writers and thinkers in Egypt who fear a conservative religious
trend is threatening freedom of expression. Human rights activists
often accuse the government of giving its conservative Islamic
advisors too much power in an effort to polish its religious
credentials and counter the appeal of Islamic radicals.
But secular writers and human rights monitors have usually welcomed
the independence of Egypt's civil courts as a way of protecting
Earlier this year an Egyptian filmmaker won his battle in court
against an Islamic lawyer who wanted his film banned on the grounds
it offended Islam because it too closely resembled a story from the
A former judge who himself has been threatened by Islamic radicals
says the new ruling against the university professor could lead to
assassination by Islamic militants.
Palestinians Killed at Border Crossing
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli troops shot and killed three Palestinians Wednesday along
the Israeli-patrolled border between Egypt and the autonomous Gaza
Strip. All of the dead men had connections to the Palestinian
leader, Yasir Arafat, and at least one was wanted by the Israeli
The Israeli army says its soldiers killed the men in two incidents
in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after one of the men fired
on an Israeli patrol. The incidents took place in the Egypt-Gaza
border zone Israel controls near the town of Rafah.
The army says one of the men killed was Darwish abu Khatla.
Palestinian sources say he was the leader of the Rafah branch of a
group called the Fatah Hawks, and had been sought by Israeli
authorities for four years. The Fatah Hawks are a group of
fighters affiliated with the Fatah organization headed by Arafat.
Palestinian sources say the other two dead men were members of a
special security unit, called Force-17, which Arafat formed during
the last year to protect his administration in Gaza. But a senior
Palestinian official condemned the apparent attempt to sneak the
Fatah Hawks fighter into Gaza, calling it "irresponsible," and
saying he hoped it would not affect the current talks with Israel
on expanding Palestinian autonomy.
Settler Torches Himself After Eviction Attempt
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
An Israeli has detonated a gas canister, injuring himself and four
security officers who were trying to evict him from an apartment he
had moved into illegally in a Jewish settlement in the occupied
The man had taken over an empty apartment in the settlement of
Karnei Shomron, 18 miles northeast of Tel Aviv. Police say they
tried to persuade him to leave the apartment, but he refused. They
say the man then opened a gas canister and ignited it.
Karnei Shomron is on the main road between two Palestinian towns
expected to receive autonomy by the end of this year -- Nablus and
Qalqilya. But it was not clear whether the man's motives were
political, or whether he was just the latest in a series of
homeless people who local residents say have tried to take over
empty apartments in the area.
The main settlers' organization says it was not behind the
incident and does not know the man involved. But the explosion
came just one day after the group organized the re-opening of 13
abandoned Israeli homes at a settlement just six miles away. The
settlers' organization has announced a campaign of such takeovers
to try to block the government's plan to give control of much of
the West Bank to the Palestinian Autonomy Authority.
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