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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 20, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 93

Arafat Accuses Netanyahu of Prolonging Crisis

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday of intentionally prolonging their peacemaking crisis. Arafat lashed out at Netanyahu after the right-wing Israeli leader rejected a U.S. proposal under which Israel would hand over another 13% of the West Bank to the Palestinians in return for stronger moves against Muslim militants. Israel has offered 9%, saying a deeper pullback under interim peace accords would jeopardize its security.

Swiss Blast N.J.'s Move for Holocaust Sanctions

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Swiss banks and the Swiss government blasted boycott legislation in New Jersey Tuesday as unfair and counterproductive to efforts to find and return the assets of Holocaust victims. They said the bill could torpedo U.S.-brokered talks between Swiss banks, the World Jewish Congress and lawyers for Holocaust victims on settling claims that the banks withheld money deposited with them by European Jews under Nazi persecution. New Jersey's Assembly was the first U.S. legislative body to approve a divestment bill aimed at pressuring Swiss banks into an agreement.

Report: Israel Tortures 850 Palestinians Annually

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Israel tortures at least 850 Palestinian detainees a year, a leading Israeli human rights group said Tuesday ahead of a court hearing on petitions to ban violent interrogations.

The B'Tselem group presented estimates at a news conference that Israel's General Security Service interrogates between 1,000 and 1,500 Palestinians a year. Urging Israel to come out of the "dark ages," B'Tselem also demonstrated the physical pressure Israeli admits it uses against suspected terrorists including: placing hoods and shackles on prisoners, putting them in painful positions, sleep deprivation and violent shaking.

Has Dam Threat Expired?

By Arutz-7 News Service

Jordan and Syria signed a preliminary agreement to build a dam on the Yarmuk River, a tributary of the Jordan River. For most of its course, the Yarmuk forms the boundary between Syria and Jordan, and the lower 14 miles of the river are under Israeli control. The agreement stipulates that Jordan will receive 120 million cubic meters of water a year, while Syria will utilize 70% of the electric power produced by the dam.

The project will cost $420 million, which Jordan and Syria will have to find ways to raise. In 1987, Jordan and Syria began construction on the dam, which ceased when the World Bank withdrew its support after Israel threatened to destroy the dam if it was built.

Technion Mini-Satellite to be Launched

By Arutz-7 News Service

A research and communications satellite of the Technion University in Haifa will be launched into space five weeks from now. It weighs 110 lbs., is 20 inches tall, and will be launched from Kazakhstan.

Israeli researchers have found that satellite launches from the former Soviet Union are more successful, on the whole, than those from the West - although two years ago a Technion satellite launch from the same site in Kazakhstan was not successful. Prof. Moshe Gellman, one of the heads of the project, said that the satellite will travel in space for three years, and will transmit photos and data to the Space Research Center in the Technion.

Forged Death Certificate to Get Out of Reserve Duty

By IINS News Service

The Israel Air Force Military Court is hearing an indictment against a soldier who told his commanding officers that he needed time off, to attend the funeral, shiva and memorial services for his sister. The soldier received the time off, since his commander could not believe anyone would lie about the death of a sister.

After being discharged from mandatory military service, the soldier used the same excuse to obtain leave from reserve duty. This time, his officer checked and found the soldier's sister was alive and well. The investigation of the Military Police discovered he used this excuse while in his mandatory service as well. According to sources in the Military Police, this is the first time an indictment has been brought against a member of the military for forging a death certificate.

Chief of Staff Upholds Sabbath

By Arutz-7 News Service

Sabbath desecration in the army has resulted in the discharge of an IDF officer. Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shachak ordered the officer discharged when it was learned that he had ordered his soldiers in the Choron Camp to paint the base on the Sabbath in anticipation of a visit by General Staff officers. Shachak learned about the incident after MK Chanan Porat submitted a complaint.

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