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  Israel Faxx                                      \/ /  \/ /
  July 19, 1994 Volume 2, #132                     / /\__/_/\
  Electronic World Communications, Inc.           /__\ \_____\
  8916 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215             \  /
  Internet: ewcnews@tso.uc.edu Phone: (513) 563-7424   \/
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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 hospitals.

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 on track.

Those talks have been bogged down over the difficult question of the Golan Heights, which Syria wants back before it will recognize Israel.

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 settlement.

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 similar concessions.

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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