Newsletter : 8fax0601.txt
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>JN June 1, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 99
Israel: Pakistan's Nukes Might Encourage Iran/Iraq
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel says its main concern about Pakistan's nuclear tests is that
it might encourage what it calls radical states in the region to
develop nuclear weapons as well.
The chief Israeli government spokesman, David bar Illan, says
Israel has no problem with the concept of an Islamic country having
a nuclear weapons capability. Rather, he says, the concern is that
such technology might reach specific countries committed to
Israel's destruction -- particularly Iran and Iraq.
"The main concern is that the regimes in Tehran and Baghdad might
get their hands on nuclear weapons one way or another, and that
would cause a tremendous earthquake here in the Middle East and
would pose danger to us, but not only to us but to the whole
Israel is widely believed to also have a nuclear weapons
capability, but that is not officially confirmed. Bar Illan says
even if Israel does, it is not reasonable to compare the idea of
democracies like Israel and Pakistan having nuclear weapons to the
potential for countries like Iran and Iraq to get them.
"When you make comparisons between the danger posed by democratic
countries and dictatorial regimes, these are invidious comparisons
which have proven themselves to be totally wrong. Obviously,
the danger posed by dictatorial regimes, particularly ones that do
not seem to be guided by rational thinking, is much greater, is
the only danger that is posed to the peace of the world."
Bar Illan says while Israel does not confirm or deny reports it has
nuclear weapons, it has promised never to be the first to use them
in any conflict.
In recent months, Israel has been particularly concerned about
Iran's efforts to improve its missile capability -- which could
enable it to deliver nuclear or other weapons into Israel. On
Friday, the Israeli newspaper "Ha'aretz" reported China has
recently sent 1,000 tons of special steel to Iran, which could be
used in its missile program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has returned from a week-long visit to China, during
which he is believed to have urged Chinese leaders to limit their
military cooperation with Iran.
Poll: Arafat's Popularity Drops 6 Percent Since January
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
A new Palestinian public opinion survey indicates support for both
Yasir Arafat and the peace process is declining. Meanwhile support
is growing for the best-known Palestinian militant leader. The
survey director says the changes indicate growing frustration among
Palestinians. But he says they are not signs of a major shift in
Palestinian politics or any imminent violence -- something
Palestinian leaders frequently predict.
Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority two and
a half years ago with more than 90 percent of the vote. Six months
ago, his approval rating was down to 46 percent. Now, according to
the "Jerusalem Media and Communication Center," it is down to just
At the same time, the number of Palestinians who say they support
the peace process fell from 74 percent in November, to 64 percent
now. Survey director Ghassan al-Khatib says the statistics for
Arafat and the peace process are understandably linked. And also
-- with the peace process deadlocked -- understandably down.
Al-Khatib says for fewer than two-thirds of Palestinians to say
they have confidence in Arafat's leadership is striking. He says
there is no competitor on the political horizon because Arafat's
nearest challenger rates only an 8.5 percent confidence rating.
But that challenger is Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and
spiritual leader of the militant Palestinian group "Hamas." And
although it is still quite low, his confidence rating rose in the
last six months from just 5.8 percent.
Al-Khatib says the survey results clearly indicate some increase in
frustration among Palestinians. But he says it's not as much as
many Palestinian leaders and analysts often say there is, when they
warn of imminent violence if the peace process deadlock is not
Pollster and analyst Ghassan al-Khatib warns that with support
declining for the moderate approach while growing for the
militants, anything can happen -- even though polls show the
moderate approach is still well ahead, at least for now.
Israeli Climbers Found Alive in Peruvian Andes
Israel Faxx Staff Report
Two Israeli climbers are in good physical condition after falling
down a deep mountain crevice high above the snow line in the
Peruvian Andes. Ben Rosenberg, 26, and his female companion, Einav
Dar, 22, were found by specially trained mountain police and flown by
helicopter to the nearby town of Huallanca.
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