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>Israel Faxx
>JN Jan. 5, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 2

Joint Military Exercises

By IINS News Service

According to EmergencyNet News, Israeli, Turkish and American troops will not fire any shots when they meet in the Mediterranean next week, for a one-day naval exercise. ENN analysts report that the sight of helicopters and gunships crossing the eastern Mediterranean is ominous enough for countries worried about the growing military ties between Israel and Turkey, and about American involvement in the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Levy Resigns

By IINS News Service

Foreign Minister David Levy announced his resignation Sunday from the government. "I am finished with this partnership," said Levy, who has expressed his disapproval of the direction the government has taken concerning the peace process and social issues, and he said he can no longer be a part of this government.

Levy has repeatedly called for an immediate Israeli implementation of the planned IDF withdrawal from areas throughout Judea and Samaria and has demanded that the proposed 1998 state budget make additional provisions for the unemployed and development areas of the country.

Minister of National Infrastructure Ariel Sharon stated he was disappointed with the manner in which budgetary decisions were reached with coalition partners, but the resignation would not further the political and social issues that Levy so prominently championed.

Sharon called upon Levy to reverse his decision and come back to the government and try to reach an agreement on the controversial issues. Although it is too early to know exactly what impact the Levy announcement will have, analysts have already stated that Levy will now move to the opposition and this may bring about early elections.

It needs to be seen if the Gesher Party will now leave the coalition entirely, a move that will place the future of the current administration in jeopardy.

Many questions remain, such as whether U.S. mediator Dennis Ross will arrive in Israel this week as planned, and whether Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with President Clinton later this month, also as planned.

Arafat-Aide Tibi Arrested for Racist Acts

By Arutz 7 News Service

Top Arafat-aide Ahmed Tibi has posted 1,000 shekels bond after being questioned in the Binyamin police station on suspicion of having insulted a public servant. A particularly strong IDF statement accused Tibi of racist and insulting remarks against a Druze Border Guard policeman.

The incident occurred when the policeman instructed the driver of Tibi's car, with Palestinian Authority license plates, to halt at a checkpoint. The soldiers claim that Tibi spat at them and cursed one of them. MK Chanan Porat asked the Attorney-General to indict Tibi, reminding him that an IDF officer was recently discharged from his position for less offensive remarks. Porat said, "It's about time that Ahmed Tibi decides once and for all regarding Israeli citizenship and his loyalty to Arafat."

Hebron Kindergarten Hit by Pipe Bombs

By IINS News Service

Two homemade explosive devices were thrown into the playground of the kindergarten in the Jewish Quarter of Hebron Friday, minutes before the little children were scheduled to go into the yard area.

Hebron News reports that the bombs were thrown from the same area where a few days earlier a large rock was hurled at the playground. A short distance from here soldiers were shot at twice over the past week and a half. In spite of these attacks the IDF has not changed any of its security policies in and around this Avraham Aveinu neighborhood.

Following the attack, Hebron's Jewish residents congregated on the rooftop overlooking the playground, demanding additional security measures to protect the neighborhood.

Sourif Terrorists Planned to Blow Up El Al Jet

By IINS News Service

According to a report in the weekly Jerusalem Newspaper, the infamous Sourif terror cell planned to blow up an El Al airlines jet with a shoulder-held rocket. The Sourif cell is responsible for many attacks, which cost the lives of at least 11 persons, including the attacks on the Apropos Restaurant in Tel Aviv and the kidnapping murder of IDF soldier Sharon Edri.

About six weeks ago, Israeli security officials apprehended senior members of the cell in Samaria. Many handguns and automatic weapons were uncovered since their arrests, as a result of General Security Service (GSS/Shin-Bet) interrogations of the suspects in custody.

According to the IDF Prosecutor, Captain Nir Mamon, there is still a lot of work to do in order to uncover the locations of weapons storehouses and the locations of other cell members who have gone underground. Mamon told an Erez military court that the terror cell also planned blowing up an El Al jet in Ben Gurion International Airport using a should-held missile, as well as another major terror attack in Tel-Aviv.

Due to information presented to the court by Mamon, the terrorists were ordered held without bail.

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