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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 16, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 60

Hamas Charity Offers Contributors Frequent Flier Points

Israel Faxx Staff Report

According to the New York Post, one who gives money to a group linked to the Hamas terror organization may earn frequent-flier miles. That is the new pitch of the New Jersey-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, believed to be a fund-raising front for Hamas, in its latest drive, introduced earlier this year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Will Israel Have an Arab Prime Minister?

By Deborah Tate (VOA-Jerusalem)

In Israel, an Arab has announced his candidacy for prime minister. Knesset member Azmi Bishara is the first non-Jew to run for israel's highest office.

Bishara, head of the Democratic National Alliance party, told a Tel Aviv news conference it is important to have an Arab candidate running for prime minister in the May elections to raise the profile of issues important to Israel's Arab community.

Israeli Arabs, who make up 18-percent of the country's population, have long complained of discrimination at the hands of the Israeli government. Arab towns receive less state money than Jewish towns, and are often lacking in basic infrastructure.

Political observers believe Bishara's candidacy could divide the opposition vote, and undermine the chances of Labor party leader Ehud Barak and Center party candidate Yitzhak Mordechai, of unseating Netanyahu.

Viagra Defense Rejected by Court

By Israelwire

A defendant facing rape charges did not succeed in convincing the court that the Viagra pill that he ingested made him lose control of his actions. The court did acknowledge however that the pill was among the contributory factors.

A 52-year-old man admitted to kidnapping a 43-year-old neighbor, taking her to a Tel-Aviv area forest. He insisted the kidnapping was done to extort money from the victim. According to Israel Radio, the defendant insisted he did not rape the woman who he added consented to oral sex. He claimed that she gave him the Viagra pill. Nevertheless, he was found guilty as charged and will be sentenced at a future date.

20 Years Since Camp David

By Scott Bobb (VOA-Cairo)

Friday is 20 years since Israel and Egypt signed the peace treaty, reached at Camp David, that returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and launched the Middle East peace process. The anniversary is passing quietly in Cairo because of the current deadlock in the peace process, but there is acknowledgement by some people of its achievements.

Twenty years have passed since Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords with a beaming President Jimmy Carter looking on.

The Camp David Accord was not welcomed in most of the Middle East at the time and is still opposed by many people. Despite the deadlock in the process today, however, some Egyptians acknowledge the Camp David accords were a step forward.

The military advisor for Cairo's Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Khadri Sayed, says the Camp David agreement reduced the risk of war between the two countries. "From the military point of view, the treaty reduced dramatically the possibility of surprise attack for both Egypt and Israel. And also, it activated a process of military cooperation to monitor the implementation of the treaty in good faith."

The Egyptian Ambassador to the United Nations who sat on UN Security Council during the Camp David negotiations, Tawfiq Khalil, notes that Egypt paid a very dear price for the accord. It was ostracized by other Arab nations for nearly a decade and Sadat paid for the treaty with his life, in 1981.

Nevertheless, Khalil says with the passage of time, many Egyptians came to feel it was the right thing to do. Khalil notes that the wisdom of Egypt's choice is that others subsequently undertook peace negotiations. Jordan signed a treaty with Israel in 1994. And the Palestinians are trying to negotiate an end to their dispute with the Israeli government.

Egyptians call the current relationship with Israel a cold peace. Relations are cool. Diplomatic exchanges are minimal. And the local media is allowed to vent the public's frustration in strong, often scathing, verbal attacks. Behind the cold peace, however, analysts say exchanges continue. Tourists visit from Israel and cooperation in agriculture continues.

Sayed says the real benefits of Camp David may be seen best in the coming generations. "The new generation who didn't participate in the previous wars has a better future and they haven't inside their mind any hate. That's why I am optimistic. All the new generation will be very helpful in supporting the peace in the future."

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