Newsletter : 4fax0718.txt
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Israel Faxx \/ / \/ /
July 19, 1994 Volume 2, #132 / /\__/_/\
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Blast Destroys Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Many Casualties
A bomb exploded Monday at a Jewish Community Center in Buenos
Aires, Argentina at approximately 9 a.m. (Buenos Aires time). The
strong blast destroyed the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association
building which served as the center of the Jewish community in
Buenos Aires. Approximately 100 people were in the building at the
time of the explosion. Reports indicate at least 20 persons died
and many more wounded.
The seven-story building completely collapsed and other structures
in the neighborhood were damaged. According to Argentine
television, the bomb was similar in strength to the device which
destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires two years ago. Israel
Radio reports that the Muslim Commando organization took
responsibility for the attack. Argentine authorities reportedly
arrested two suspects in the attack at the airport in Buenos Aires
while the two were trying to leave the country.
In response, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said "We are shocked
from the depths of our hearts over the destruction of the Jewish
community building in Buenos Aires...we are very concerned about
what happened, and there is probably an anti-Semitic or an
anti-Israel hand in this event." According to Argentine radio,
Argentine President Carlos Menem expressed his shock over the
incident and gave orders to close Argentina's borders in order to
capture those responsible for the attack. An Israel Air Force plane
carrying a special rescue unit has arrived in Argentina to assist
in the rescue efforts.
Throughout the day, the site of the explosion remained chaotic.
Police kept Argentines from getting too close to affected
buildings. One structure was literally obliterated. Various
other buildings are damaged for blocks around in an important
business section of Buenos Aires.
Volunteers and police on site worked feverishly to try and get
through rubble left after the explosion. There are suspicions
people are still trapped inside the most seriously damaged
building, which was used for Jewish community gatherings.
Throughout the day, body parts were still strewn on streets near
the disaster, and victims were still waiting to be taken to nearby
Christopher Arrives In Israel
By Kyle King (Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin says he hopes US Secretary of
State Warren Christopher's visit to Syria this week will open new
opportunities for a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement.
Christopher met with the prime minister in Jerusalem Monday, at the
start of a week long visit to the region.
Speaking at a joint news conference after talks with the Israeli
prime minister, the secretary of state said there would be
difficulties on the road to peace.
But he said the parties were showing great determination to end
what he called one of the most long standing and intractable
conflicts of the century.
Christopher's visit comes as Israeli and Jordanian officials
are holding bilateral talks that focus on economic and
development issues and will lead up to next week's summit in
Washington between the Israeli and Jordanian leaders.
Wednesday, Christopher will take part in a three way meeting with
his Israeli and Jordanian counterparts at Jordan's Dead Sea spa
hotel. That meeting will mark the first time the Israeli foreign
minister has held such talks in public in Jordan.
In addition to talks with PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat later in
the week, Christopher is also scheduled to travel to Damascus
today in an effort to try to get Syrian-Israeli negotiations back
Those talks have been bogged down over the difficult question of
the Golan Heights, which Syria wants back before it will recognize
Rabin said he hoped recent progress with Jordan would lead to
progress in the negotiations with Syria. But he said the
negotiations would be difficult and any territorial concessions
would have to come in the context of a timetable for peace and
normalization. Issues he said, that would be complicated.
Christopher acknowledged there are still difficult issues to be
settled, but he said there was a new age of opportunity for peace
and he would try to assist the parties in reaching a comprehensive
Syrian President Hafez Assad came under joint pressure from the
United States and Israel to join other Arab leaders in a drive for
an overall Middle East settlement. Assad was warned that holding
back would mean passing up an opportunity to recover most if not
all of the Golan Heights territory captured by Israel in the 1967
war. But the Syrian leader has resisted spelling out his peace
offer until Israel makes a firm commitment to yield the entire
strategic buffer zone.
Israeli-Jordanian Talks Begin on Border North of Red Sea
By Art Chimes (Jerusalem) and EWC News
Delegates from Jordan and Israel sat down at a table straddling
their border Monday morning, to open what appears to be a new
chapter in relations between the two neighbors. Technically,
Israel and Jordan have been in a state of war since 1948. But for
years, top Israeli leaders have met secretly with King Hussein --
and the two countries have quietly cooperated on issues such as
water sharing. There are real issues dividing the two countries --
such as water and a border dispute -- but by international
standards they are not all that difficult.
But getting the relationship out in the open is the first step,
so most commentators are focusing on the openness of this meeting,
the fact that Jordan is willing not just to meet the Israelis, but
do it in public, on television, and to do it just a few hours'
drive from the Jordanian capital, Amman.
These two days of talks along the border lead to Wednesday's
ministerial-level meeting at a resort hotel on the Jordanian side
of the Dead Sea to be attended by US Secretary of State Warren
Christopher. And that, in turn, paves the way for next Monday's
historic meeting in Washington, where King Hussein will hold his
first public meeting with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Jordan, financially desperate due to her support of Saddam Hussein
in the Gulf War has suffered great financial losses due to the U.N.
embargo placed on shipping to her only Red Sea port, Aqaba.
Additional pressures have compounded her political difficulties due
to the high Palestinian population within the country, estimated to
be almost 70 percent of the population.
While many have compared Jordan's parliamentary system to that of
Great Britain, the reverse is true. Jordan is an absolute Monarchy
with the Hashemite family of King Hussein having total control.
Reports have surfaced that Israel prior to negotiations has ceded
hundreds of square miles to the Jordanians as a way of enticing
them to the negotiating table. Initial reports are that the
Jordanians claim that Israel has appropriated both water and land
belonging to Jordan and want additional concessions from Israel.
Sources also indicate that the Jordanians are well aware of the
territorial concessions made to Arafat and will pressure Israel for
The history of the area is complex as while Jordan claims Israeli
takeover of their lands, Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank and
east Jerusalem after a military takeover in the 1948 war. Only
Great Britain and Pakistan recognized their claims, and the
takeover was considered illegal by the world community including
their Arab brothers.
Israel Imposes Closure in Wake of Riots
Israel has closed crossings from the Gaza Strip to Israel. The
closure comes after Sunday's riots by Palestinians at the Erez
crossing. The Palestinians acknowledged a failure on their part and
asked the IDF to close the crossing for at least 96 hours so that
they could reorganize. As a result of the riots, two Palestinians
were killed and 75 injured. Thirty Israelis were also injured,
including a border policeman who sustained serious injuries.
A preliminary IDF investigation shows that the Palestinian police,
including senior officers, did not arrive on time for their
scheduled post assignments near the crossing to ensure that only
authorized Palestinians would cross into Israel. The IDF
investigation also shows that the Hamas and Islamic Jihad
organizations sent hundreds of inciters to the Erez crossing to
disrupt order there. Some Palestinian policemen who could not
control the rioters, instead stood between the crowd and Israeli
security forces, thus limiting the Israelis ability to stop the
riots. Palestinian police shot indiscriminately, wounding four IDF
soldiers. IDF commanders complimented IDF forces for showing
restraint during the melee.
Following the incident, IDF Chief of Staff Major General Ehud Barak
ordered reinforcements to be sent to the Erez crossing. Barak
blamed the Palestinian police for the riots and for shooting
directly at IDF forces and demanded an investigation by the
Palestinian authorities and eventual legal action.
Reactions to Riots in Gaza
Political officials are blaming Hamas for Sunday's riots at the
Erez crossing. They claim that Hamas was trying to harm the peace
process and cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian
security forces. Israel is demanding compensation for the
substantial property damages resulting from the riots and said the
crossing will remain closed until compensation is paid.
As Israel Faxx reported Monday, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat called
for international observers to be stationed in all the autonomous
areas. Palestinian Authority member Saeb Arekat said that he
transferred Arafat's request to the U.S. and to European countries.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin rejected Arafat's demand,
saying "We don't have to agree to this demand and Arafat has to
understand that we must solve our problems ourselves."
Cabinet Approves New Regulation Restricting Palestinian
Political Activity in Israel
The government approved a new bill restricting the Palestinian
Authority from engaging in any political activity in Israel,
particularly in Jerusalem. The Ministerial Committee for
Legislation will convene next week to discuss the details of the
bill which still requires Knesset approval. The measure could come
before the Knesset as early as next week.
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