Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has rejected a Palestinian proposal to place international observers in areas of the West Bank that Israel considers essential to its security.

Palestinian officials said the proposal was part of a comprehensive plan Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat planned to raise in discussions in Washington this month with President Clinton.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the plan was intended to rescue the peace process from crisis and expressed the Palestinian Authority's "acceptance of international observers in its territories."

David Bar-Illan, a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was quoted as describing the Palestinian proposition for an international observer force as an old idea that is as unacceptable today as it was 10 years ago.

Israeli army officer saves Palestinian's life

JERUSALEM (JPS) — On his way to honor a fallen IDF soldier last week, Maj.-Gen. Uzi Dayan helped save the life of a Palestinian motorist trapped in a mangled West Bank wreck.

Dayan had been flying in his military helicopter from his Jerusalem headquarters toward the Galilee, when he spotted a traffic accident between a semitrailer and a small car on the road below. He ordered his pilot to land and rushed to help the driver of the car, who was trapped inside.

A veteran commando, Dayan resuscitated the driver and applied a tourniquet, while other officers pried open the wreck. Soon other Palestinian and Jewish motorists stopped to help, too.

Dayan only let up when the divisional IDF doctor arrived at the scene and the injured Palestinian was transferred to an ambulance and taken to Ramallah Hospital.

Dayan, his hands and uniform bloodied, then continued on his way to the Galilee moshav of Dishon, where a Torah scroll was being dedicated in memory of Tomer Goldberg, an IDF soldier who died in the Feb. 4 helicopter disaster.

Women pilots qualify for combat training

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli women may soon be flying high above the skies.

Two years after Israel's High Court of Justice ruled that the Israeli air force cannot ban women from becoming pilots, two female cadets passed the qualifying courses to train as combat pilots.

The Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported that if the two cadets, identified only as "S" and "L," complete the combat course, they could become Israel's first female combat pilots within a year.

In a ground-breaking November 1995 ruling, the high court said women must be allowed into the air force's pilot-training program.

The woman who challenged the air force's policy, South African-born Alice Miller, was ultimately unable to take the training course after she failed the qualifying exam.

But her court battle opened the way for other female candidates.