Newsletter : 6fax0522.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
May 22, 1996 V4, #94
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Election Campaign Web Sites
Campaign commercials of both Labor and the Likud can now be seen
on internet-web sites, prior to their screening on television. A
Raanana company has supplied technology to the parties that enables
their clips to be seen in real-time without the need for the
viewers to spend several minutes loading the video spots into their
computers. Labor's web-site is <http://www.peres.org.il>, while
Likud's is <http://www.likud.org.il>.
Arafat Arrests Human Rights Activist
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
A Palestinian court in Gaza has extended the detention of a human
rights activist arrested Saturday for making comments Palestinian
officials see as slanderous. According to the lawyer for human
rights activist Eyad Sarraj, he was taken before a judge of Gaza's
Security Court Tuesday without warning and, after a brief hearing,
the judge ordered him held for another 15 days, at the prosecutor's
The lawyer says Sarraj was told he is accused of "libel and
defamation." The charges apparently stem from an article in the
New York Times which quoted Sarraj as calling the Palestinian
Authority "corrupt, dictatorial and oppressive."
Many human rights activists in the Palestinian areas and elsewhere
have criticized the Palestinian Authority for ignoring defendants'
rights in the security courts and for trying to limit freedom of
the press. Palestinian officials say such steps are necessary to
prevent violent militant groups from operating, but critics charge
the methods are used to put down legitimate dissent.
Several international human rights groups have called for Sarraj's
release. A member of the newly elected Palestinian Council also
criticized the arrest in an article published Tuesday in the
Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida. Council member Nabil Amr
disagreed with some of what Sarraj was quoted as saying, but he
argued that nothing that was said justifies putting him in jail.
This is the second time in six months Sarraj has been arrested for
criticizing the Palestinian Authority. He is the head of the
Palestine Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights, and also
runs the Gaza Mental Health Center.
In addition to Sarraj, the Palestinian Authority has also cracked
down on others whose views it opposes. Recent incidents include
the suspension of the host of a program on Palestinian radio for
failing to argue with a caller who criticized the authority, and
the arrest and beating of a photographer who took a picture of
children in Gaza bathing a donkey in the Mediterranean. Officials
said the picture tarnished the image of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian press law, instituted last year, says all
Palestinians have the freedom to express their opinions, but it
also forbids publication of anything which might harm "national
unity" or contradict what it calls "national responsibilities."
Turkey: Israel Pact Shouldn't Alarm Arabs
By Paul Francuch (VOA-Washington)
Turkish foreign minister Emre Gonensay says a recently-concluded
military agreement between his country and Israel should not
cause continuing alarm to neighboring Arab governments in the
Middle East. The Turkish minister told reporters at a briefing in
Washington Tuesday the agreement with Israel focuses on "military
In response to a question, Gonensay told reporters that his
government's agreement with Israel is not an "offensive"
agreement, to use his word, but "simply a training agreement." The
Turkish minister says reaction to the agreement by some Arab
governments was based partly on what he termed "misunderstanding,
misinformation or disinformation."
Gonensay says he met personally with the foreign ministers of
Egypt and Iran, and by telephone with the foreign minister of
Lebanon, to reassure them on the nature of the agreement with
Israel. He says it is his opinion they were satisfied with his
"The nature of the agreement is that it is a "blueprint" agreement
for military training which increases the defense capacity of the
Turkish military forces. It is not a defense agreement -- it is
a training agreement involving visits of ships to each other
country's ports, delegations to war academies, using of airspace of
the respective countries for pilot training. And we have such
"blueprint" agreements with about 18 other countries, including
many Arab Muslim countries in the region."
The Turkish foreign minister did not mention Syria among the
list of foreign ministers he briefed regarding the recent agreement
with Israel. Syria is clearly annoyed by the pact. Syria's
government daily newspaper "Tishreen" Tuesday carried a page-one
commentary calling the Turkish-Israeli agreement "an uncordial
action by the Turkish government toward Arabs" which is escalating
tension in the region. Another official Syrian daily newspaper,
"Al-Baath," carried a report saying that while Syria would not
allow its territory to be used for launching attacks against
Turkey, Syria reiterates its right to confront any military
alliance threatening its security.
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