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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 2, 1998, Vol. 2, No. 39

Iraq Prepares Drone for Bombing Mission

By IINS News Service

Foreign sources report Iraq is preparing drones (pilotless planes) which are being designed to carry non-conventional weapons at a maximum flying distance of 480 miles. The drones would not be in violation of the weapons agreement, according to some interpretations, since they do not fall under the category of development of surface-to-surface missiles.

Israelis Flying to Washington

By Mark Lavie (VOA-Jerusalem)

A senior Israeli official has been dispatched to Washington to try to stop the U.S from presenting a plan to break the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

David bar Illan, policy adviser to Israel's prime minister, is to meet with administration officials in Washington. His goal is to persuade the U.S. not to present Israel and the Palestinians with a proposal about Israel's long-delayed pullback from parts of the West Bank.

Reports reaching Jerusalem say the U.S. plan calls for Israel to hand over an additional 13-percent of the territory to the Palestinians now -- and an additional amount later. This is in accordance with an agreement the two sides signed, with U.S. mediation, one year ago.

Israel's Cabinet has approved a smaller pullback, on condition the later withdrawal is canceled. The Palestinians reject the Israeli approach. They say the upcoming pullback is not as important as the next one -- after which, they say, they should be in control of 90-percent of the West Bank. Then negotiations for a permanent peace agreement would begin.

The Israeli stand has received the backing of Jewish leaders from the U.S., who are starting a four-day convention in Israel.

Executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, said if the U.S. presents its plan it would be seen as pressure on Israel. He warned that could be interpreted as a victory for Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein after the crisis in the Persian Gulf.

After the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. took the initiative in the decades-long Israel-Arab conflict and brought all the warring parties together for a peace conference in Madrid. The Madrid conference led to a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, peace negotiations between Israel and Syria and Lebanon -- and indirectly to the interim accords between the Palestinians and Israel.

The Palestinians are hoping that following resolution of the current crisis over Iraq, the U.S. will press Israel to carry out the terms of agreements already signed -- especially, turning over significant parts of the West Bank to Palestinian civilian control.

Netanyahu May Attend Jews for Jesus Celebration

By IINS News Service

The Feb. 27 Jewish Week newspaper in New York reported, "What may turn out to be the largest official Israel at 50 celebration in America -- perhaps with participation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- has a roster full of speakers and participants who are messianic Jews."

The event by the Christian Alliance For Israel is scheduled to attract up to 18,000 people in Orlando, Fla., from April 29-May 3.

77.2% Palestinians Want Iraqi Retaliation Strike

By Don Canaan

A poll last month by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center of 1,188 Palestinian adults in the West Bank (including east Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip found if the US launched a strike against Iraq, the representative sample of 77.2 % of Palestinians said they supported Iraq launching a strike against Israel, while 15.7% answered no, and 7.1 % had no opinion.

They were asked "If war breaks out between Iraq and the U.S. do you expect Iraq will launch missiles against Israel like the last time? 52.2% agreed, 42.9% disagreed and 4.9% did not express an opinion.

And if Iraq launched missiles against Israel, the respondents were asked if they were concerned that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza would be injured. They answered: Yes 48.5%, No 46.9%, No opinion 4.6%.

Asked if they supported Iraq and sympathize with that nation, 94.1% answered affirmatively, 4.8% said no and 1.1% had no opinion.

Hamas Fundraising Operation Uncovered

By IINS News Service

The Israeli Police Department Fraud Division, working in conjunction with IDF troops, have uncovered a Hamas terror organization fundraising operation, in which moneys collected in Israel and abroad were used for the organization's terrorist activities and to make payments to families of suicide terrorists.

According to Reshet Bet Radio military corespondent Carmella Menashe, about six-weeks ago, police and soldiers from an elite IDF unit raided a home in the area of the PLO Authority autonomous city of Ramallah, and found thousands of documents, many of which indicated that millions of dollars have been collected and funneled to Hamas for its activities.

Families of a suicide terrorist (who carried out a terror attack against an Israeli target) or the family of a terrorist serving a life prison sentence (for carrying out a terror attack against an Israeli target) receive several hundred to several thousand dollars, as monthly payments.

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