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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 1, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 78

Mordechai Confirms Syrian Nerve Gas Threats

Minister of Defense Yitzchak Mordechai confirmed that Syria has completed development of a new type of nerve gas, one with which current Israeli gas masks and other precautionary measures cannot safely deal. He emphasized, however, that he would not recommend that Syria "start up with us." The IDF spokesman announced that the army is prepared to deal with a large range of threats upon the civilian population.

Syria Denies Nerve Gas Allegations

Syria is denying Israeli allegations deadly nerve gas was put in missiles capable of hitting the Jewish state. Haaretz had reported Tuesday that Syria obtained the chemicals for the nerve gas from Russia and recruited a Russian expert to help manufacture the deadly gas.

Al-Baath, the paper of Syria's ruling Baath party, accused Israel of a "misleading campaign" to draw attention from its tough stances toward the Arabs that have helped stall the Middle East peace process.

Pollard Files Suit Against Israeli Gov't

The "file a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court" rage has reached North Carolina. Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli citizen who has been imprisoned for the past 12 years on charges of espionage, filed suit with the Supreme Court Wednesday, demanding that the Israeli government explain what it has done in order to bring about his release.

In addition, Pollard demands to know why Israel has never declared that he was an Israeli agent. Pollard's wife, Esther, says that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not fulfilled any of his promises to Pollard. Larry Dub, attorney for Pollard, told Arutz-7 that his client had always been told that he would be freed after 10 years in prison, and he has now despaired of the government fulfilling its promises.

Pollard, 42, a former U.S. Navy analyst, is serving a life sentence for passing U.S. military secrets to Israel. He has been in jail in the United States since 1985. Pollard's wife Esther told Israel army radio that Israel has not done enough to release her husband, who is suffering from arthritis and developing glaucoma.

Pollard's petition also accuses the Israeli government of "breach of promise" for refusing to continue funding Pollard's defense and supporting his wife.

Pollard is currently being held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C. President Clinton rejected a clemency plea by Pollard in July 1996, citing the enormity of Pollard's crime, his lack of remorse and the damage he caused U.S. security.

NIS 1 Billion for Roads to Circumvent Autonomy Areas

By Eitan Rabin (Courtesy of Ha'aretz)

Defense officials have prepared a plan to build new roads in the West Bank, intended to allow Israelis to avoid parts of the area under autonomous control of the Palestinian Authority.

The plan, prepared by the settlement division of the Defense Ministry, would cost NIS 1 billion to carry out. It has not yet received budgetary approval but if accepted would require expropriating land from Palestinians.

The plan calls for paving additional "autonomy circumvention roads" and thoroughfares in addition to the 24 roads laid out just before Israel's partial redeployment in the West Bank under interim agreements with the Palestinians during the previous Labor government.

Ben Gurion Airport to Close on Sabbath?

Transportation Minister Rabbi Yitzchak Levy has denied reports that he plans to close Ben Gurion International Airport on Sabbath and Jewish holidays. Levy said that there are considerations that "transcend the sum written on a check; the Sabbath is one of the most important values of the Jewish nation, and it must be preserved." He said that within the framework of the status quo, "each side gives a little: the secular public can't fly abroad on Sabbath, and the religious public is forced to see immodestly-clad women in the newspapers."

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