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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       June 14, 1996 V4, #106
All the News the Big Guys Missed

'Windows 95' in Hebrew inaugurated

Sales have begun in Israel of the computer program "Windows 95" in Hebrew. The system is now in use in more than 20-million personal computers throughout the world. It has undergone a full adaptation into Hebrew at the Microsoft center in Seattle. It is expected to be used in 200,000 personal computers in Israel.

Arafat Arrests Human Rights Activist

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

A Palestinian security court in Gaza has ordered human rights activist Eyad Sarraj held for 15 days for allegedly assaulting a police officer. He has been detained during the last few days on drug charges. While entering the court, Dr. Sarraj told reporters he had been beaten in prison and felt "terrible." Reporters in Gaza say Sarraj appeared disheveled and distressed. When asked about reports he had been tortured, he replied "yes."

The physician and human rights activist was arrested Sunday night when police said they found hashish in his office. His staff says the drug was planted. A criminal court ordered him freed on the drug charge Thursday until his trial. But the security court judge ordered him held on the assault charge.

Palestinian Attorney General Khaled Kidreh said Wednesday Sarraj had struck a police officer who was taking him into a police station. The attorney general also denied that the doctor has been mistreated, or that evidence was planted in his office. Kidreh also said this arrest is not related to two previous arrests of Sarraj in the last six months for allegedly slandering the Palestinian Authority of Yasir Arafat.

An outspoken critic of the authority, Sarraj recently called it "corrupt and dictatorial," but he has also said Palestinians should support the authority while trying to improve it.

Weizman Tries Cementing Turkish Pact

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's president, Ezer Weizman, is in Turkey for the UN Habitat Conference, and for meetings with Turkish officials about the controversial Israel-Turkey relationship -- particularly their new defense cooperation agreement.

Turkey is Israel's closest friend among Islamic countries, but the relationship was held back for years by Israel's conflict with its Islamic Arab neighbors. That changed with the acceleration of the Middle East peace process in 1991. And today the two countries have a thriving relationship.

Turkish Airlines is the largest foreign carrier serving Tel Aviv's international airport -- mainly ferrying Israeli tourists to and from Istanbul and Turkey's Mediterranean beaches. When an Iranian airliner was hijacked to Israel last year, the only way it could fly home from Israel was through Turkish airspace.

But the latest development in Israel-Turkey relations has angered other Islamic countries. It is a defense cooperation agreement, which involves possible high-technology purchases both ways, and training flights by Israeli and Turkish fighter pilots in each other's airspace. Such a visit to Israel last week by Turkish air force pilots sparked criticism from Iran and Syria.

But Turkey's ambassador in Israel, Barlas Ozener, says the critics have nothing to worry about and he believes the criticism will not have any long-term impact. "This reaction is off the cuff, a sudden eruption, and will in time, as people understand what's going on, it will go down. We see no reason why this thing should be blown out of proportion. It is a perfectly legitimate agreement between Turkey and Israel, which is to the good of the security establishments of both sides. We have lots to learn from each other."

Ozener says Turkey is very interested in Israeli defense technology, and is trying to take advantage of what he calls the "favorable atmosphere" in the Middle East to develop its relations with Israel.

But two developments, aside from the Arab criticism, threaten to change that. One is the election of conservative Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel's next prime minister. Netanyahu will not take office until next week at the earliest. But Arab countries which have peace agreements or ongoing talks with Israel are concerned that his hard-line campaign rhetoric will destroy the peace process if it becomes policy.

Ambassador Ozener urges a wait-and-see approach on that.

But political change in Turkey also threatens the Israel-Turkey relationship. That is the emergence once again of the Islamic Welfare Party as a player in the effort to form Turkey's next government. The party is opposed to Turkey's relationship with Israel, and has threatened to cancel the defense pact if it comes to power. That is a prospect which has Israel concerned.

The Israeli president immediately accepted the invitation to visit Turkey this week, to see his friend Turkish President Suleiman Demeriel and to speak at the Habitat Conference.

Both presidents have largely ceremonial jobs. But the visit by former air force pilot Weizman takes on added significance, coming at a time of criticism of the new Israel-Turkey defense relationship, and with the governments of both countries in a state of transition.

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