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>Israel Faxx
>JN April 16, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 68

IDF Confiscates Weapons from Jews

Dozens of Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza have received orders over the past two days to turn in their IDF-assigned weapons. Exact reasons for the orders were not given, but the list of those whose weapon is to be confiscated is mainly comprised of those who have shot in self-defense in the past, as well as several members of the Temple Mount organization "Chai Vekayam."

Abu Marzook Won't be Released from U.S. Prison

By Larry Freund (VOA-New York)

A federal judge in New York has rejected a request for the immediate release from jail of Mousa abu Marzook, a leader of the militant Palestinian organization Hamas.

Judge Denise Cote has turned down the request of abu Marzook's lawyers that he be freed from the federal jail where he has been held for the last 21 months. She said her jurisdiction in the case ended when US authorities stopped their effort to extradite him to Israel.

Israel had originally requested the extradition of Marzook, arguing that, as head of the Hamas political wing, he was responsible for terrorism acts against Israelis. However, Israel suspended its extradition request earlier this month.

Abu Marzook is now being held for a formal hearing before an immigration judge to determine whether he should be deported and excluded from the United States because he engaged in or materially aided terrorism. No date has yet been set for that hearing.

Abu Marzook was a U.S. resident for 15 years, but his name was placed on a terrorist watch list and he was held at New York's Kennedy Airport when he tried to re-enter the United States in July 1995. He says he is willing to leave the United States, but will not admit that he engaged in terrorism. US officials say he must therefore face a hearing to determine if he should be excluded as a terrorist.

Ross Due to Arrive in Israel

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The senior US Middle East mediator, Dennis Ross, is due today in Israel and Gaza to continue exploring ways to get the Israeli-Palestinian peace process back on track. Ross flies into an area where the leaders, and the people, from the two sides disagree sharply on both the conditions for resuming their peace process and where that process should lead.

Israel demands an end to violence and would like to scrap existing commitments in favor of accelerated talks on a final settlement. The Palestinians say the violence is not so serious, insist on implementation of the existing agreements, and doubt whether a final settlement is possible with Israel's current right-wing government.

With such sharp differences, senior Israeli official Dore Gold says the US role takes on greater importance. "As the issues become more difficult, the American role is more significant, and I would expect it would stay significant as long as the parties have such different approaches to these very, very difficult issues."

Ross is expected to meet with the top Israeli and Palestinian leaders shortly after today's arrival.

Spring is Bursting Out All Over

Spring has arrived in Israel and the local flora is blooming. Now is the time to see such varieties as the Golan Iris which, as its name suggests, can be seen only on the Golan Heights. The Gilboa Iris is also at full bloom.

Around the Sea of Galilee, you can see a multitude of poppies, anemones, and buttercups as well as tulips and mustard flowers. Flowers are abundant all over the Galil and the Carmel range. Orchids are blossoming all along the coastal plain while in the vicinity of Ramat Hanadiv displays carnations, blue thistles, anemones, cyclamen and iris galore.

Even in the desert, by the side of the highway that leads from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, you can see a plethora of yellow and red flowers.

Chimpanzees Treated with Syrups for Humans Recover from Flu

An experiment in recent months at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has checked the effectiveness of syrup for humans to treat influenza in helping chimpanzees, too, suffering from the disease.

Since the beginning of the past winter, chimpanzees have been receiving the prescription daily and, while the final findings have not yet been registered, the interim results show that the onset of flu among the chimps who received the syrup was lower than that among those who did not get it.

This indicates that influenza is not a disease exclusive to humans, and chimps develop the same symptoms of fever, coughing, a cold and a generally negative feeling. Half a year ago, the keeper in charge of treating sick animals at the zoo, Beverley Berg, decided to test the effectiveness of a natural syrup called Sembucal on the animals. It contains only natural components and the Zoo management agreed to the experiment.

While the medicine did not prevent the appearance of flu, says Noa Alon, one of the keepers, "those who got it recovered from the illness much faster than those which did not." The only problem was an unexpected one: the chimps which did not get their daily dose of the syrup were envious of those which did and the keepers decided to compensate them with a dose of strawberry juice or a banana.

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