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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 27, Col. 4, No. 235

Parties Optimistic About Hebron

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are continuing their talks in Jerusalem, amid predictions from all sides that agreement will be reached next week on an Israeli withdrawal from most of Hebron.

The senior US Middle East Mediator, Dennis Ross, left for the weekend to brief President Clinton on the talks. But the meetings continued with the US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, as the lead mediator. And he joined Israeli and Palestinian officials in saying the remaining issues are small and there should be an agreement by next week.

"He'll be returning on monday and hopefully we can reach an agreement soon after that. There are a few remaining issues that have to be resolved and we're hopeful that with all the progress that's been made as a result of the meeting between the prime minister and Chairman Arafat that it'll be possible to reach an agreement fairly soon."

Negotiators say they are trying to draft a document to reflect agreements made at Tuesday's Israeli-Palestinian summit, and to settle a few remaining issues related to the Hebron withdrawal and what comes afterward.

Netanyahu Letter Promised No Further Withdrawals

By Arutz-7 Radio News

"A government under my leadership will ensure that a Palestinian state will not be established, and that no further territories be handed over to foreign sovereignty. The IDF and the security forces will have complete freedom of action against terrorists."

This is the essence of a letter written by Benjamin Netanyahu to Chabad leaders shortly before the previous elections. The letter, which was released to the media yesterday by a Chabad leader, Rabbi Shmuel Hefer, was also signed by Ariel Sharon.

Hefer told Arutz-7 that Chabad supported Netanyahu solely on the basis of his promise to preserve the integrity of the Land of Israel. He said, "In certain aspects, a Labor-led government would be better than the Likud. If the Oslo process is to be implemented, we may as well have Peres in power."

Iran Seen as Middle East Nuclear Threat

By Maxim Kniazkov (VOA-Washington)
With nuclear proliferation singled out as a major threat to world peace, the newly selected US national security team is expected to keep a close watch on Iran. US officials and nuclear experts say Tehran is moving ahead in its drive to build nuclear weapons.

Publicly, Iran claims its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful and open to international inspections. But experts say the problem is that Iran's nuclear program has a double bottom.

They say the country's nuclear power plants, as well as its purportedly peaceful research facilities, hide secret programs designed to turn Iran into a nuclear power.

A recent item in US News and World Report, citing intelligence sources, says Iran is building in Yazd, the country's uranium mining center, a network of suspicious underground shafts. According to the magazine, intelligence sources believe those shafts could be used for future nuclear tests.

But that, says Gary Milhollin, executive director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, is only the tip of the iceberg. Milhollin says the reach of Tehran's nuclear program is indeed global.

Published reports say one of Iran's secret nuclear facilities is located north of Tehran, in underground chambers dug beneath the village of Moallem Kalayeh. Another nuclear complex is believed to be hidden at Darkhovin, a military base run by the Revolutionary Guards, Iran's elite military service.

On top of that, US officials say Tehran is trying to use its peaceful facilities as a guise for obtaining nuclear technology that could be applied for manufacturing weapons.

US officials have repeatedly warned that, dangerous as they are in themselves, Iran's nuclear pursuits become a real nightmare in light of the country's support for international terrorist networks.

As for nuclear warheads, US officials and proliferation specialists agree that Tehran will probably have them within 10 years, if its nuclear drive goes unimpeded.

Stress Enables Passage of Materials From Blood to the Brain

Researchers from the Hebrew University and the Soroka Hospital have found that conditions of stress harm the effectiveness of barriers between the blood and the brain, preventing the passage of materials in the blood. In this way, medications in the body can also enter the brain. The results were published in "Nature Medicine."

Professor Hermona Schwarts of the Hebrew University said "we can conclude that people under stress must get much lower doses of medicines which are not supposed to enter the brain." The brain is normally the only organ blocked off from the transfer of materials in the blood stream.

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