Google Search

Newsletter : 6fax0325.txt

Directory | Previous file | Next file


Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       March 25, 1996 V4, #55
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Egyptian Newspaper Says Peres Should Resign

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Egypt's Foreign Ministry is calling on Israel to lift its closure of the Palestinian self-rule areas. Egypt is complaining about the impact the closures are having on the Palestinian economy.

The Foreign Ministry statement says it is following with deep concern what it calls repressive Israeli practices against the Palestinian people and has complained about collective punishment of Palestinians, which is against international law.

Foreign Minister Amr Moussa says Israel's security concerns were not enough reason to seal off the Palestinian areas. Fear that some violent elements might filter through, Moussa says, is different from the issue of starving a population. Moussa also called on Israel to complete its military pullout from the West Bank town of Hebron on schedule.

A state newspaper in Egypt Sunday did not mince words. It called on Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to resign because "he had betrayed his image as a peacemaker." Al Gomhuria listed the recent closures, destruction of Arab homes and new threats of deportation of militants suspected of links to terrorism.

The newspaper also accused the prime minister of sparking the latest wave of violence when his security forces killed the Hamas bomber Hayha Ayyash three months ago. The latest suicide bombings, which killed more than 60 people in Israel, were claimed by Hamas in part to avenge the Ayyash murder.

Gaza Closure: Part Two

By Al Pessin (VOA-Gaza)

Israel's closure of the Palestinian territories, imposed one month ago today because of the wave of suicide bombings by Palestinian militants, has had a serious economic impact. But it has also had a psychological impact which many people believe could affect support for the peace process.

The Gaza Strip is fewer than 30 miles long, and six- to nine-miles wide. About 1 million people live here. For the past month, none of them has been able to leave. Only the bare minimum of basic supplies, such as flour, cooking oil, and medicine have gotten in. And no exports have gotten out.

The spokesman for the United Nations Relief Agency in Gaza, Ron Wilkinson, says the closure has severely deepened a feeling of claustrophobia, which he says exists anyway in Gaza.

"It's desperate on many levels. Psychologically, it's desperate. Just this idea that nobody can get out. So you get this feeling of really total closure. There have been closures before that have been tight, but this one is really beyond belief."

And Wilkinson says the effect is magnified because the closure is expected to be a long one -- leading, he says, almost to panic among some people.

He reports that thousands of people have flooded UN food distribution centers, which are intended to serve only the poorest people in Gaza. And he says the food is running out because the closure has stranded containers full of Gaza-bound UN food and medical supplies at an Israeli port.

Palestinian human rights activist Raji Sourani says the closure is affecting virtually everyone in Gaza in very personal ways. "What is the most important for a student, his academic career, or not? For a sick person, what is the most important thing? How he can get medication. For somebody who is a believer, the most important is how he can get to the Church of the Nativity or Al-Aksa in Jerusalem. For a businessman, what's the most important thing? To do his business. For a worker, what's the most important thing? He needs to go to his work, earn some money. All these people, which is, this is the community, nothing is working. This is the most important thing."

Israel justifies the closure on security grounds. But Palestinians say documented workers and truckloads of Gaza vegetables are no threat to Israel. Israeli government spokesman Uri Dromi disagrees.

"We have seen in the past that there is a very close and salient linkage between closure and a drastic reduction in terrorist activities. And unfortunately, we have to suspect each and every Palestinian because past experience, and bitter experience, shows us that we can not be trustful of anyone. Then the best thing to do is just seal off the territories and keep them away."

Dromi says Israel understands the dangers of a prolonged closure. But he says even if 99 percent of Palestinians want peace, the remaining 1 percent who carry out or support violence force Israel to take drastic action.

"We don't aim to punish anybody. On the contrary, we are going out of our way to find ways and means to alleviate and ameliorate the living conditions of Palestinians in terms of food, medicine and other humanitarian issues. The last thing we want to see is the Palestinians being affected in such a negative way."

Women Begin Pilot Training

Ten female IDF soldiers will begin the air force's pilot training course shortly. Some of the candidates are officers, and others work as instructors at combat jet fight simulators. The female soldiers were accepted into the training course following Alice Miller's successful appeal to the High Court of Justice challenging the former Air Force practice of not considering female candidates.

Home Search

(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)

Read today's issue
Who is Don Canaan?
IsraelNewsFaxx's Zionism and the Middle East Resource Directory