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Sept 26, 1994 Volume 2, #174 / /\__/_/\
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Rabin-Arafat Meet Once More
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat have decided further negotiations are needed at a lower
level before a date can be set for Palestinian elections. The two
former enemies appeared side-by-side for only the second time here
at the Erez Checkpoint-- from which Israel ruled Gaza for 27 years.
They reviewed their differences about how and when to hold
elections in the territory Israel is in the process of handing
over to the Palestinians. They did not agree on just when to
hold the elections -- or exactly what kind of authority will be
elected. Those issues will be left to talks scheduled to begin
October 3 in Cairo.
Rabin reaffirmed Israel's commitment to allow the Palestinians to
hold some sort of elections, and he praised the atmosphere of the
meeting -- in contrast to tense encounters the two leaders have had
"I believe that it was a fruitful meeting in good atmosphere.
There are, here and there, differences. But I believe that the
spirit and the mood was of cooperation with the purpose to overcome
these obstacles and misunderstandings or differences, and really to
find a way how to continue with what we are committed to."
The two leaders agreed to meet again within a month to review
progress on the election issue and try to solve any remaining
disputes. That would seem to call into further doubt the
Palestinian target date of November 1.
Arafat said he is still hoping to meet that target and that
preparations have already begun. In addition, he pledged
to renew efforts to fight terrorism, following an attack on a
Jewish settler in Gaza just hours before Sunday's meeting.
"I have here to repeat again, we are against completely all kinds
of terrorism from the two sides, which are looking to harm or to
touch this line of peace between both of us, and we are willing to
carry on with this attitude to achieve what we are looking to
Arafat said what they are looking to achieve is a lasting peace
between Israel and all its neighbors, which will go on for
Likud Calls for Referendum Soon
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israel's opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has called
for a tougher negotiating stance with Syria. Netanyahu says
Israeli leaders are giving up more than they have to for a peace he
believes would not be stable or reliable. Netanyahu says that when
his party was in power, Syria agreed to begin and then continue
peace talks even though Israel refused to agree to give up the
Golan Heights. Netanyahu says that should still be the government's
position, and that Syria would make peace anyway.
Israel's government is moving toward giving up at least some of
the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. And
there is widespread speculation in Israel that the government
will give up all of the high ground.
But the opposition leader says that is neither necessary nor smart.
"Any peace agreement must take into account the basic understanding
of all peace agreements in the Middle East, and all peace
agreements between democracies and non-democratic regimes, and that
is, that a peace agreement can be, if not protected by
deterrence, merely an interlude between two wars. What we seek is
a stable peace with Syria and that requires Israel maintaining the
barrier to war which is its present position on the Golan Heights."
The Likud Party leader called on the government to hold early
elections, or at least a referendum, to gauge Israeli public
opinion on giving up the heights. The government has
promised to do that, but Netanyahu says the government wants
to go to the people too late -- only after the surrender of the
Golan is part of an international agreement.
Polls indicate a majority of Israelis are opposed to
returning all of the Golan Heights to Syria, although many are
willing to return some of the land. The issue is likely to be a
major factor in Israeli politics in the period before elections
scheduled for 1996 -- with the ruling party hoping details of a
peace agreement with Syria will convince Israelis to endorse
significant territorial concessions and the opposition claiming
it could get the same treaty without the concessions.
When it's There, They will Come
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Much attention has been focused recently on efforts to
forge a peace agreement between Israel and Syria, and controversy
over the implementation of Israel's peace agreement with the
Palestinians. But during that time, Israel and Jordan have been
quietly implementing their peace accord through a series of
agreements on practical issues. One change in Israel-Jordan
relations has affected a small community in northern Israel.
At first glance, the kibbutz of Mo'az Haim looks a lot like many
other Israeli collective communities -- small factories
in front, tree-lined streets behind with small houses, a communal
dining hall, and agricultural fields across the road.
Drive along the farm road through those fields and you come to a
barbed wire fence along a river. It is the Jordan River and the
Israel-Jordan border -- a hostile frontier for many years.
But where Israeli and Jordanian soldiers once eyed each other
from a distance, today, Israeli and Jordanian equipment operators
eye each other at close range. They are working on the same
project just 150 feet from each other across the river, digging
the foundation for a new bridge scheduled to open next month.
The agreement to build the bridge is just one of a series of
accords reached by Israeli and Jordanian negotiators. They have
also agreed on joint projects related to tourism, transportation,
water, agriculture and several other areas. And negotiators are
working on resolving border disputes.
The bridge at Mo'az Haim will be one of the more visible results
of the Israel-Jordan talks -- only the second crossing between
the two countries, outside of the Palestinian area.
The kibbutz manager, Avner Grosh, says the town plans to build a
truck stop with a gas station and repair shop, and maybe a hotel,
to take advantage of expected traffic on what is now a dead-end
road. He says the road is the best route from Israel's port of
Haifa into Jordan, Syria and potentially Iraq.
"We are talking about peace. Peace is one way. No return. If it
will be peace. If it will not be peace, nothing. We didn't say
anything. But we hope that peace, if it starts, it must go on."
And Grosh hopes the open border will do more for Mo'az Haim
than make it into a truck stop. The kibbutz was founded in 1937,
and he says it had active and friendly business and social
contacts with nearby Jordanian villages until Israel's independence
in 1948. Having lived in the town in those early years, Grosh
would like to see those relationships renewed.
In those early years there was a bridge at Mo'az Haim. Jewish
fighters drove a car filled with explosives onto it in 1948 and
blew it up, to prevent Jordan from using the bridge as a route to
invade the new Jewish state. The new bridge is being built right
next to the ruins of the old one.
Grosh says it will be some time after the new bridge opens before
it will be clear just how much the new Israel-Jordan relationship
will change life in Mo'az Haim.
But aside from the prospects for new business, which are bound to
interest a manager, he notes that many members of the town's
younger generation have traveled widely to many countries around
the world. Soon, he says, maybe they will be able to walk
across the fields and over the bridge, and visit those people he
calls our neighbors, the Arabs.
Russian Royalty may be Resurrected
By Elizabeth Arrott (Moscow)
The remains of the brother of Russia's last czar have been put back
in a royal crypt. The solemn reburial ceremony in St. Petersburg
served as a preview of next year's expected reinterment of the
bones of the czar himself.
The remains of Grand Duke Georgy Alexandrovich were laid to rest at
the Peter and Paul Cathedral, not far from the tomb of Peter the
Great. Russian orthodox priests and nuns sang accompaniment at the
ceremony, which was attended by members of the royal Romanov
The bones of the younger brother of Czar Nicholas II were taken
from the crypt earlier this year. Geneticists wanted to
learn if they could prove conclusively the identity of the czar's
remains. Most scientists involved believe they have correctly
identified Nicholas' remains.
The last czar was killed by communists in 1918. It was a murder
that shocked the world, with Nicholas, his wife and five
children, taken to a basement and shot. Their bodies were thrown
into a pit in a nearby forest and lay undiscovered until three
The Russian Orthodox Church plans an elaborate Christian burial
of the remains at the Peter and Paul Cathedral next year.
More than 75 years after Russia's last czar was murdered
Russia's parliament has decided to consider his rehabilitation.
The request to review the role of Czar Nicholas II comes at the
request of a distant relative.
Ivan Rybkin, chairman of Russia's lower house of parliament says he
will consider the request of Nicholas' distant cousin. Grand
Duchess Leonida Georgiyevna asked Rybkin to help arrange an
orthodox burial of the czar, whose remains were discovered three
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, royalists have made a
minor comeback and have been pressing for proper tribute to what
they call Russia's glorious past. Parliament Chairman Rybkin
says lawmakers intend to take another look at the Romanov's
The Koran Says Israel Belongs to the Jews
Judea Electronic Magazine
In the Koran, in the Book of the Table, it is written: "Bear in
mind the words of Moses to his people. He said: 'Remember, my
people, the favors which Allah has bestowed upon you. He has
raised up prophets among you, made you kings, and given you that
which He has given to no other nation. Enter, my people, the holy
land which Allah has assigned for you, do not turn back, or you
shall be ruined.'" (The Koran, N.J. Dawood Translation
(1956), p. 377; as noted in Jerusalem Report, 11 Aug 94, p. 2).
Gaza Strip Hotel
By Art Chimes (Washington)
Arab and Jewish entrepreneurs in the United States are
collaborating on an unusual project aimed both at earning a
profit and at cementing the Middle East peace process. A five-star,
business-oriented hotel is in the planning stages for the
impoverished Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Strip may not seem like the most likely place for a
luxury hotel. But an Arab-American businessman in the Washington
area sees an opportunity there. The Gaza Strip is home to 750,000
people and the headquarters of the new Palestinian National
Authority. Right now, there are only a few small hotels in Gaza,
and none of them offer Western-style comfort and convenience. Ziad
Karram says there are lots of people who will need a place to stay
as political authority and economic development begin to take hold.
"Most of them will be business people, executives; international
organizations like the World Bank, United Nations, European
organizations, diplomats who want to come to see the [Palestinian]
government there, guests of the government over there. They need
hotels, full service hotels. And it doesn't exist right now in
Karram heads GRDG, an engineering firm in suburban Fairfax,
Virginia and he plans to build a 300-room Marriott Hotel on the
beach in the Gaza Strip.
Working with Karram on the project is a Jewish businessman,
Steven Green. Both men are involved in "Builders for Peace," a
partnership that hopes to channel new investment into the
self-governing Palestinian areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Karram says his hotel will bring sorely-needed jobs to the
Gaza Strip, and he says that will help reduce the violence there.
"Because they have no jobs, no structure to their lives, and
consequently they throw stones on the streets and they
ventilate by violence. So the economic help and the jobs
opportunity there will literally help contribute to the
stabilization of the peace."
Marriott Hotel officials declined to discuss the project, saying
no contract has been signed yet, but Marriott does confirm they
have signed a preliminary "letter of intent" on the proposed
Dalai Lama Speaks Out on Judaism
Sometimes outsiders are more aware of Judaism than Jews themselves.
At college, Leah studied eastern religions. In her junior year,
the school offered a six-month program of travel to Tibet and India
and Leah spent a month with a Tibetan family in the Himalayan
mountains. From there, the group of 16 students -- eight of whom
were Jewish -- headed to India. The highlight of their visit was
a meeting with the Dalai Lama, to whom each student was permitted
to put two questions. After much deliberation, Leah decided to
ask: "How do I know what the truth really is and what spiritual
path to follow?"
"The truth," he told her, "is in your roots."
"But I'm Jewish," she replied.
"Then look deeply into your Judaism," he told her. "If you were
born Jewish, you need to be Jewish."
"But there's nothing deep about Judaism," she said.
"If you haven't seen anything deep in Judaism," retorted the Dalai
Lama, "then you haven't studied it properly."
(From In Jerusalem, "Religious Life," 26 Aug 94, pp. vi-vii.)_
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