Google Search

Newsletter : 5fax0518.txt

Directory | Previous file | Next file


Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 18, 1995, V3, #92
All the News the Big Guys Missed

For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management

Israel and Jordan Planning Railroad Ties

Israel and Jordan are cooperating on a survey on the state of the railroad networks between their Dead Sea factories and the port cities of Haifa, Ashdod, Eilat and Aqaba. The survey will also examine the possibility of constructing a rail line between Jordan's second largest city, Irbid, and Haifa.

Arafat Won't Fight Jerusalem Land Confiscations

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

With the deadline for reaching agreement on the expansion of Palestinian autonomy just six weeks away, and negotiations progressing slowly, PLO leader Yasir Arafat is taking steps apparently to improve the chances an agreement will be reached.

Israeli officials have been complaining for months that Arafat needed to do more to crack down on violent groups which oppose the peace accord. The Israelis said if autonomous areas were going to be bases of easy operation for the violent groups, they were not going to expand those areas. They essentially told Arafat to prove he could control the violent groups in Gaza and Jericho, or he would not get any more territory.

Arafat frequently says that security for Israelis is one of his top priorities, but Israeli officials said his actions did not match his words -- at least until recently.

In the last month or so, Israeli officials have praised what they say is the increasing effectiveness of the Palestinian police, and the actions of the security court which began operating in Gaza last month. Several members of the violent groups have been sentenced in trials which human rights groups criticize, but which security experts praise.

In just the last few days, the court sentenced one senior leader of the militant group, Hamas, to three years in prison and closed the Hamas newspaper. In addition, the Palestinian police briefly detained the newspaper's publisher, and interrogated one of the top Hamas leaders, Mahmoud az-Zahhar. Then Tuesday night, the Palestinian police reportedly raided five Hamas mosques and confiscated anti-peace posters and leaflets.

In the past, analysts have said Arafat was reluctant to take such steps against Hamas for fear that a negative public reaction could bring down his Autonomy Authority. Now, that appears to have changed.

Perhaps the most striking action that points to Arafat's desire to forge ahead with the peace process is his effort to block a motion in the Israeli parliament which is critical of the government's recent land confiscation in east Jerusalem. Arafat made the move even though he, the Arab world and many other countries have criticized the confiscation. The no-confidence motion could have brought down the government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had it been supported by all the opposition members of parliament. Nonetheless, the parliament member who introduced it, Israeli-Arab Abdel Wahab Darawshe, says a senior Arafat aide called him and said Arafat does not want that to happen.

Darawshe says Arafat was concerned that Israeli elections now, rather than a year and a half from now as scheduled, would be more likely to bring a conservative government to power which would not be willing to expand autonomy. Darawshe says his Arab Democratic Party will review its motion on Friday and will decide whether to withdraw it before a vote, which would be expected next week.

A senior Western analyst in Israel, who is familiar with the thinking among officials both in Gaza and in Jerusalem, confirms that although Arafat is angry about the Jerusalem issue and wants some action taken, he has decided not to make it a major issue in this critical period of negotiations with Israel.

The issue overshadowed a round of talks in Cairo this week, but the analyst, who requested anonymity, says in general Arafat wants to stay focused on meeting the July 1 deadline for agreement on how to expand autonomy. The analyst says Israeli leaders want to do the same. He says the Palestinian leader still has more work to do, but the analyst believes Arafat's attitude toward the Jerusalem issue and his crackdown on the violent groups are evidence of what the analyst calls "a very important change for the better." And the analyst believes Israeli leaders, and US officials, are taking note.

Sperm-preserving material invented

In the fertility lab of Bar Ilan University, a new material has been prepared for preserving human sperm, permitting infertile men to have periodic examinations whose results can even be sent abroad for diagnosis.

The lab is already providing the material and process to 300 doctors and clinics in Israel and carrying out 1,200 tests a year. It will be offering the service to doctors abroad.

The system allows the isolation of single sperm cells which are capable of fertilizing an ovum "in vitro" and are withdrawn from men who had hitherto been thought to be infertile. Prof. Binyamin Bartov reports that 34 men diagnosed as infertile nevertheless had fertile sperm extracted from them through electronic microscopic scans and a cell centrifuge. The fertilization was by micro manipulation.

Home Search

(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)

Read today's issue
Who is Don Canaan?
IsraelNewsFaxx's Zionism and the Middle East Resource Directory