Newsletter : 4fax0921.txt
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Israel Faxx \/ / \/ /
Sept 22, 1994 Volume 2, #172 / /\__/_/\
Electronic World Communications, Inc. /__\ \_____\
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Germany Legislates Against Nazis
By Evans Hays (Berlin)
Germany's Lower House of parliament has approved
legislation giving the government extended powers to fight
organized crime and right-wing extremism. The legislation was
approved after months of negotiations with the main opposition
Social Democrats to ensure that new laws would not infringe on
The center-right government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl has
been working hard to win passage of the legislation. Kohl
and others in government argued that police and the courts need
expanded authority to combat on-going neo-Nazi violence and the
rise of organized crime.
While neo-Nazi and other right-wing extremism has declined
slightly from earlier years, it remains a serious problem. There
have been about 1,000 attacks against foreigners in Germany this
year, down from about 1,500 in the same period last year. About 30
people have died in neo-Nazi attacks in Germany since unification.
The new laws will impose tougher penalties on those engaged in
violent attacks. Anyone found guilty of causing bodily harm
faces a maximum jail term of five years, up from three years.
In a move aimed specifically at neo-Nazis, the maximum penalty
for denying that the Holocaust took place was increased from
three to five years. And the new laws will extend a ban on Nazi
slogans and symbols to include anything that resembles them.
Many neo-Nazis avoided prosecution under the old law by slightly
altering the Nazi salute or the slogans they chant. The new
legislation also aims to step up the fight against organized crime.
One key element will allow local police access to information
gathered by the federal intelligence agency through its wiretaps
and other sources. Previously, the intelligence service -- known
as the BND -- was barred from making such information
available to local authorities.
This ban on cooperation was a legacy from the Nazi era, when the
feared Gestapo secret police worked closely with local authorities.
The new legislation is expected to be approved quickly by the
Upper House of Germany's parliament.
Syrian-Israeli Progress Made
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
US and Israeli officials say some progress is being made
toward peace between Israel and Syria, but they say there is
considerably more work to do, and a senior US official says it
may not yet be time for a direct, high-level Israel-Syria meeting.
Officials declined to give details, but said there has been some
progress although significant gaps remain between the Syrian and
Israeli positions. The leader of the US delegation, Dennis Ross,
said he believes more progress is needed through US intermediaries
before he would suggest a direct, high-level Israel-Syria meeting.
Ross says he wants to be sure any such meeting is productive,
and more work is needed to ensure that. For now, he said, the
current US mediation is the best approach, even though all the
problems have not yet been solved.
"I don't want to get into the details of the issues where one finds
gaps. The fact is, there are gaps in a number of different areas.
What we are seeing is seriousness. What we are seeing is a very
detailed approach to this process. What we are seeing is an
interest on both sides in trying to understand the positions of the
other.But there are gaps, and there still is, clearly, a lot of
work to be done."
Israel and the United States agree direct Israel-Syria talks are
needed at some point to forge a peace agreement, and there has
been speculation in Israel that Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
might meet with his Syrian counterpart in New York next month.
Although Ross indicated it might not yet be time for that,
in brief remarks Wednesday Peres emphasized the new, public
interest in peace shown by Syrian leaders. He said that has
created a better atmosphere and eased the task of Israeli and US
negotiators. "We are really trying to work together to find
solutions for the problems ahead of us, and I do believe that on
some points we made some progress."
But there is no word of progress on at least one key dispute --
the future of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria
in 1967. Syria wants all the land back; Israel is offering a
small withdrawal now and further talks after three years of
peace. In addition, Israeli leaders face vocal opposition from
Israelis who oppose giving back any of the strategically-important
heights -- including some from within their own party's
Peres reported that his meeting with the US delegation Wednesday
also covered Israel's peace agreements with the Palestinians and
Jordan. He also welcomed Saudi Arabia's endorsement of the peace
process, calling it a "highly positive move."
The visit by Ross's delegation was designed, in part, to prepare
for a visit to the region next month by US Secretary of State
Warren Christopher, to continue the mediation effort.
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