Mideast Report

LONDON (JPS) — Three submarines capable of firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles will enter service with the Israeli navy early next year, according to a newspaper report in London on Thursday of last week.

The Guardian reported that the first of the three German-built Dolphin submarines is undergoing trials in the North Sea, and the Pentagon has confirmed that all three will be operational in early 1999.

Defense analysts say Israel has concluded that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Islamic states in the region, notably Iran, is inevitable and that it must acquire a second-strike capability at sea in case its land-based nuclear arsenal is destroyed in a surprise attack.

The London-based Jane's Fighting Ships has reported that the diesel and electric-powered Dolphin submarines are capable of firing surface-to-surface missiles from their torpedo tubes.

Israeli abuses cited in civil rights report

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has made some advances in the area of civil rights, but discrimination against Israeli Arabs and human rights violations against Palestinians in the territories continue, according to an Israeli civil rights group.

In its annual report released in late June, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said the main infringement of human rights was the continued use of violent interrogation techniques against suspected Palestinian terrorists.

The association also criticized the continued use of administrative detention of prisoners, which involves holding them without trial, as well as other violations.

Dan Yakir, legal adviser for ACRI, said that within Israel, discrimination continued against Israeli Arabs, particularly in the distribution of financial resources to Arab villages.

ACRI said Israel had improved in some areas of civil rights for Israelis, but other social discrimination continues, the group said, including government ministries failing to provided sufficient equipment to serve the disabled, and continued discrimination against women in some workplaces.

Poll: Violence favored by more Palestinians

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An increasing number of Palestinians back violence against Israel, but a majority still support the peace process, according to a new poll.

In the survey, conducted by the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies, 50 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip backed such violence, as opposed to 36 percent in September 1997.

Some 68 percent said they backed the peace process, while 29 percent opposed it. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percent.

Netanyahu, Weizman try to resolve dispute

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Ezer Weizman met last week and agreed to keep their differences private. But there was no indication that the two had resolved the bitter differences between them.

The meeting was arranged after Weizman last week publicly derided Netanyahu and said that he should call for early elections if he was not serious about carrying out a further redeployment in the West Bank.