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>Israel Faxx
>JN Nov. 17, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 211

Increased Demand for Gas Masks

As United States forces increase their presence in the area, Israelis are preparing for the possibility of another war with Iraq. IDF Home Front Command gas mask distribution centers reported a noticeable increase in requests for new masks and refreshing of old gas mask kits.

Israel Issues Warning to Iraq

Israel, in a message relayed by Jordan, has warned Iraq that Israel will respond on a massive scale if attacked, Ma'ariv reported.

Minister of National Infrastructure Ariel Sharon, who was in Jordan, delivered the message to Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan several hours before Hassan's meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. The warning was issued despite appeals from the United States for Israel to keep a low profile as Washington tries to bring Arab states into an international coalition against Iraq.

Security officials estimate that the chances of an Iraqi missile attack on Israel are slim. However, Israel Defense Force Home Front Command and other appropriate units are conducting large civil defense exercises, involving dealing with mass casualty incidents. The exercises are concentrating on the treatment of many injured persons who have been hit with non-conventional weaponry, such as biological and/or chemical warfare.

Iraq Update

By IINS News Service

In the 19th day of the crisis over Iraq's expulsion of American UN arms inspectors, Baghdad and Washington traded bitter accusations Sunday. Iraq accused the United States of playing for time, while it built up forces in the Gulf. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright charged Iraq with lies and obstruction in the six years since the Gulf War.

The al-Thawra newspaper said Sunday: "America is impeding any dialogue between Iraq and the (UN) Security Council...It is investing in the time of diplomacy in order to complete its military preparations."

Albright, who is in Qatar on a diplomatic mission said, "When the Gulf War ended six years ago, the world spelled out in UN Security Council resolutions what Iraq had to do to return to the family of nations. Unfortunately for the Iraqi people, instead of meeting these requirements, for six years Saddam Hussein has lied, delayed, obstructed and tried to deceive."

French President Jacques Chirac said Sunday that he supported diplomatic efforts to end the crisis with Iraq. At a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, Chirac said, "The way their leaders are acting at the moment is unacceptable and...I condemn it."

The US aircraft carrier George Washington resumed sailing through the Suez Canal on its way to the Gulf Sunday, after fog delayed it for several hours. The nuclear-powered carrier and its escort ships passed the city of Ismailia at 5:00 a.m. EST, after being held up earlier in the northern half of the 100-mile canal.

The Sunday Times of London was reporting on Sunday that Iraq has been manufacturing poisonous gas at a secret location in Sudan. The newspaper, citing intelligence and diplomatic sources in Uganda, said that Sudan has been working together with Iraq to produce and stockpile mustard gas. The gas is being made at Wau, in southwest Sudan.

The report claims Sudanese armed forces already have used the gas twice, in a civil war against rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

Production of the relatively inexpensive gas began in 1995 following a visit by an Iraqi military delegation that included the army's leading chemical weapons expert. Under terms of the alleged deal, Iraq supplied pilots and weapons to help the Sudan war effort.

IDF Soldier Denied Permission to Attend Sister's Wedding

By IINS News Service

Sagit Ukshi was married last week, but could not hide her disappointment that her brother, Avishai, who is in basic training in the IDF, was not present.

Despite clear standing orders of the IDF that a soldier is permitted leave to participate in a family wedding, Avishai was refused permission by his superior officers to attend his sister's wedding.

Seventy guests waited impatiently for Avishai to arrive in the Jerusalem Office of the Chief Rabbinate. Sagit had said she could not start the wedding until he arrived. Finally, they had to go on without him.

The morning of the wedding, Avishai asked his commander when he would be permitted to leave from the base in southern Israel. He was sent to kitchen duty. When he asked later on, he was told "If you ask again, you will not see the wedding." Avishai explained he was scared to ask again.

As the hour grew later, he realized it was not likely he would make the wedding and broke down crying. When his commander witnessed this, he told him, "Forget the wedding. This is your punishment for your behavior."

The IDF spokesman stated that the matter will be dealt with and disciplinary actions will be taken against those responsible. The spokesman's office acknowledged that in accordance with IDF law, the soldier was entitled to obtain leave to attend the wedding.

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