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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 11, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 46

Egypt Says Netanyahu Turns "World Upside Down"

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has accused Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of turning the world upside down and failing to keep his promises on Middle East peace. "Ever since the Netanyahu government came to power, the world has turned upside down," Mubarak told Israel's Maariv.

Palestinians Killed in Apparent Misunderstanding

By Mark Lavie (VOA-Tel Aviv)

Israeli soldiers shot and killed three Palestinians at an army roadblock and wounded four others. It appears to have been a tragic misunderstanding -- one that might complicate efforts to move Israeli-Palestinian peace talks along. Israeli soldiers opened fire on a van just before it crashed into an Israeli army checkpoint south of the West Bank city of Hebron.

Eyewitnesses say the van pulled out from a line of cars waiting at the checkpoint and sped toward the soldiers. They opened fire. One of the Palestinian passengers said the van was carrying workers home from their jobs. He said the driver of the van was trying to prevent another car from cutting in front of him. He was wounded by the gunfire -- and stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, crashing into the checkpoint.

Israeli government spokesman Moshe Fogel said from the point of view of the soldiers, it looked like the Palestinians were trying to run the roadblock or run them over. "When a suspected vehicle breaks through an Israeli checkpoint, after that checkpoint calls on them to stop, and injures an Israeli soldier, then I think we have a good basis to believe that what is inside the vehicle may be terrorists."

Two of the soldiers were taken into Israeli military police custody for questioning. The Israelis pledged to share information about the interrogation with the Palestinian police. The incident took place in a part of the West Bank under Israeli military rule. The Palestinians control civilian services in the Hebron and surrounding villages, and Palestinian police patrol those areas.

Hizbullah Rejects Security Guarantees

By IINS News Service

Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has rejected Israeli requests for guarantees from Hizbullah, that would give Israel the necessary security assurances to comply with United Nations Resolution 425, calling for an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Nasrallah said:, "Hizbullah will not bother the Lebanese government but we will not give guarantees to our enemy. Israel now is willing to make concessions, on areas that were never hers. They want security guarantees. Is anyone willing to accept Israel's word on guarantees and walk into an Israeli minefield, after everything Israel has done in southern Lebanon?"

Hizbullah also made it clear it reserves the right to attack Israeli targets, even following an Israeli withdrawal from the area.

High Court Decision on Sexual Abuse in Workplace

By IINS News Service

The High Court of Justice has defined the term "sexual abuse" by overturning a lower court decision pertaining to a case in which a defendant was acquitted of sexual abuse.

Zohar Ben-Asher, a teacher in Kibbutz Seminar College, in Ramat Aviv, was charged with sexually abusing a freshman student in 1994. The student maintained that he hugged her repeatedly and caressed her back without consent. These incidents occurred on more than one occasion, and even in front of witnesses. The student told the court that he placed his hands all over her body, despite her not giving approval.

During his trial, the teacher told the court that the touching was part of the teaching process, trying to convey a closeness, and it was not sexual in nature. The lower court ruled that the teacher did indeed, act inappropriately but his actions did not constitute sexual harassment. The High Court acknowledged that it is difficult at times to differentiate between acceptable activity and harassment.

The court stated that several basic guidelines must be followed to make such a determination. Would the actions be deemed "acceptable" by a reasonable person? Harassment need not always be physical. It can also be manifested in a verbal or pictorial nature as well. The offender must create a hostile environment, such as trying to elicit a sexual response against the victim's will.

The court pointed out that interfering with the victim's regular activities in school or in the workplace would constitute a "hostile environment." Any advances not welcomed by the victims may be deemed harassment. Should the defendant take advantage of his or her position, such as an employer or high-ranking officer, the actions would be deemed severe.

The court ruled in this specific case, that since the teacher asked the student for a date, as well as his physical actions in front of witnesses, the case constituted sexual harassment.

The High Court also pointed out that this was a case of taking advantage of one's position, since the student was afraid her teacher might take retribution if she did not act appropriately. The case was referred back to the lower court for sentencing.

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