Newsletter : 7fax0212.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
>PD Feb. 12, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 24
Israel Starts Release of Palestinian Women Prisoners
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel began releasing Palestinian women from its jails Tuesday.
But a legal dispute slowed the process after only a few of the 31
planned for release had gone free, leaving the Palestinian leader
Yasir Arafat waiting in Ramallah to celebrate.
A group of Israelis who oppose the releases delayed the process by
filing a last-minute appeal with the Israeli Supreme Court. Most
of the women could have gone free anyway, but they refused to go as
an act of solidarity with the others.
The women could have been freed a year ago, but they refused to
leave prison when Israel's president, Ezer Weizman, declined to
sign pardon papers for a few of them, who had been convicted of
murder. Recently, the president changed his mind and the release
was promised again in last month's Hebron accord.
In 1995, Israel freed more than 1,000 Palestinian men, but it still
holds several thousand more.
Prisoner releases are a significant emotional issue for
Palestinians, along with such matters as statehood and the future
of Jerusalem. The issue is equally emotional for some Israelis,
particularly when it comes to Palestinians convicted of committing
violence against Jews.
Bibi Modifies Pre-Condition Request
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will not demand
a reduction in attacks by Syrian-backed Lebanese guerrillas as a
condition for resuming talks with Syria. But he believes such a
reduction will be necessary for the talks to make significant
progress. Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes bombed the guerrillas'
radio station Tuesday, knocking it off the air.
Netanyahu traveled to southern Lebanon Tuesday, visiting Israeli
army units in the border zone that Israel occupies. He has
rejected calls for a unilateral withdrawal from the zone, saying
Israeli troops will leave only as part of peace agreements with
Lebanon and Syria which guarantee the security of Israel's northern
But on Tuesday, he also rejected calls by some members of
parliament that he demand a reduction in attacks by the Hizbullah
terrorists as a condition for resuming Israel-Syria peace talks.
Netanyahu said neither Israel nor Syria should impose
preconditions, but that he also believes the talks can be
successful only if Syria ends what he called its "indirect war
Hizbullah, which frequently attacks Israeli forces in southern
Lebanon and sometimes launches rockets into northern Israeli
towns, is backed mainly by Iran. But Israel says Syria's 40,000
troops in Lebanon can control Hizbullah's ability to operate. And
Israeli officials say Syria often manipulates the level of
Hizbullah attacks depending on the status of its troubled talks
Meanwhile, Israeli air force planes struck Tuesday into the part
of Lebanon controlled by Syria. The planes rocketed and apparently
destroyed the transmitters of the Hizbullah radio station, the
Voice of the Oppressed, near the town of Baalbek. It was the first
Israeli attack into the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in six
Reports from Lebanon say Israeli aircraft also made two other
raids Tuesday, including one against suspected bases of a militant
palestinian group (PFLP-GC) just south of Beirut.
Pollard's Wife Appeals to Netanyahu
Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan, has written an "urgent
appeal" to Prime Minister Netanyahu, on the eve of his trip to the
United States this week. She wrote that her husband's health is
deteriorating, and that he "is experiencing daily bouts of
According to Mrs. Pollard, "The prison doctor says that Jonathan
needs an operation, and prison officials are sympathetic, but their
hands are tied by the U.S. Government's excessive security
precautions regarding Jonathan's movements...
"We have been given to understand that Jonathan Pollard is a high
priority on the agenda for your upcoming trip to Washington this
month... An extraordinary window of opportunity to secure
Jonathan's unconditional release now presents itself... in your
upcoming meeting with President Clinton. Mr. Prime Minister, it is
incumbent upon you to bring Jonathan Pollard home with you once and
for all -- home to the land for which he sacrificed everything."
Highway Junction Lights Turn on Only when Traffic Approaches
A new appliance in Israel is lighting a highway junction or
crossroad only when vehicles approach it, with the light going off
when they depart. The Public Works Department has begun applying
this innovative device invented by an Israeli, Dr. Amnon Manor. It
is based on a solar power storage unit activated by movement of
Any vehicle within 350 meters of the junction sets off the light,
whose power diminishes as the vehicle departs from the crossroad,
and then goes off entirely. The same system is usable for
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)