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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 11, 1996, Vol. 4, No. 224

A Gesture to Arab Journalists

120 special permits to enter pre-1967 Israel have been granted in the last few days to Palestinian journalists. The permits were granted by special order of Prime Minister Netanyahu. His media advisor explained that the permits are intended to ease the work of Palestinian journalists within the major Jewish population centers.

Israeli Housing Planned for East Jerusalem

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

An Israeli planning commission Tuesday approved a plan for a Jewish housing project in the heart of an Arab neighborhood in disputed east Jerusalem and the plan is being contested by Arab residents.

Jerusalem city planners approved plans to build 132 housing units in east Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud neighborhood. East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and formally annexed, but Israeli sovereignty there has never received international recognition.

Jerusalem's future is to be negotiated in final status talks, which have yet to resume under the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Approval of the plan is certain to infuriate Palestinians, who want to establish the capital of their future state in east Jerusalem. Palestinian officials and Israeli opposition members warn the plan could provoke a violent outburst, if implemented.

The housing plan, which is to be financed in part by private American funds, must be signed by Israel's interior minister.

Officials are linking construction of apartments intended for Arab residents of east Jerusalem to the implementation of the Jewish housing plan. But a lawyer representing the Arab residents says he will try to get a court order to prevent that plan from being carried out.

Palestinians Possess Anti-Tank, Anti-Aircraft Missiles

The Palestinian Security Service is attempting to equip itself with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles according to a report in this week's edition of Time Magazine.

Senior Palestinian police officers denied involvement in weapons smuggling, but at the same time, the officers admitted that they posses a dozen anti-tank missiles that were confiscated from Islamic extremists or contributed to the Palestinian Authority by Islamic groups.

An officer in the IDF's Southern Command is quoted as saying that other weapons which are prohibited under Israeli-Palestinian agreements have entered the Gaza Strip. Israeli representatives have appealed to the Palestinian Authority on several occasions to receive reports on such weaponry. Israeli security sources said that advanced weaponry is also possessed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists in the territories. The weapons are usually smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip.

Israeli, Arab Officials Discussing Connecting Railway Systems

Israeli and Arab representatives discussed integrating Israel's railway system with those of neighboring Arab countries at a secret meeting held three weeks ago in Mitzpe Ramon.

The meeting was attended by members of the "Israel 2000 Forum," the head of Jordan's Railway Authority, a representative of Egypt's Railway Authority and representatives of a British railway company which has demonstrated interest in the Middle East.

According to the discussions, Israel would be transformed -- separately from the peace process -- into a gateway to Arab states. This would enable the passage of goods from Europe and the east coast of the United States to Arab countries. In addition, the railway links would provide transit routes for Islamic tourism to holy sites in Israel.

Arab Knesset Member: "Continue the Intifada"

Ahmed Sa'ad from the Hadash party says that Israeli Arabs are identical to Palestinians for all intents and purposes. In an interview broadcast on Voice of Palestine Radio marking the ninth year since the outbreak of the intifada, Sa'ad declared Israeli Arabs do not merely exhibit solidarity with the Palestinians' "struggle, but are part of it."

He called for the continuation of the intifada until a Palestinian state is set up. Voice of Palestine Radio reported that it was the Palestinian Authority that was behind Monday's taking over of the Moslem College campus in Hebron by hundreds of students. The action was organized through the "Shabiba" movement, the youth wing of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

A Carpet That Knows How to Count

Israeli inventors Ehud Goren and Efraim Garti have devised a carpet, the first of its kind in the world, that can count the number of persons using it to enter or leave a building, such as a shopping mall. In this way, a security guard at the end of the day can determine if the number of people who entered also left the building. The carpet can also signal the weight of those entering. It took three years to develop the device, and the model will soon be marketed. It is 60 meters wide and has sensors woven into it. The first models will cost several thousand dollars.

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