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  Israel Faxx                                      \/ /  \/ /
  Sept 26, 1994 Volume 2, #174                     / /\__/_/\
  Electronic World Communications, Inc.           /__\ \_____\
  8916 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215             \  /
  Internet: ewcnews@tso.uc.edu Phone: (513) 563-7424   \/
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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 before.

"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 achieve."

Arafat said what they are looking to achieve is a lasting peace between Israel and all its neighbors, which will go on for generations.

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 family.

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 years ago.

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 years ago.

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 historical role.

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 Gaza."

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 hotel.

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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