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>PD OCTOBER 10, 1994, V2, #184
Terror in Jerusalem
Jew-News, an independent computer news service, reports Arab
terrorists opened fire with Kalatchnikovs in the center of
Jerusalem. First reportS called this a "disaster."
The attack occurred on Nachalat Shiva Street/off the mall (Ben
Yehuda Street). The center of town is an armed camp. According to
Army Radio the terrorists attacked the Ben Yehuda Mall with
Kalatchnikov automatic weapons and hand grenades.
Police say this was a well planned attack. At least three
magazines were fired by the terrorists (75 bullets).
It is believed four of five terrorists were dressed up as priests.
President Ezer Weizman said on the radio that this is very bad. We
have to keep the faith. Let's wait and see what develops, he said.
The terrorists approached the restaurants and opened fire. There
were numerous automatic weapons. They just sprayed the area with
gunfire. Many citizens and IDF soldiers that were in the area
attempted to shoot the terrorists.
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Arab gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons in downtown
Jerusalem late Sunday night -- killing one Israeli and wounding 14
other people on a crowded pedestrian promenade lined with sidewalk
cafes. Police shot and killed two of the terrorists, but witnesses
say another got away.
It was a routine night out gone mad for Keith Sprague and his
friends. He was sitting outside a restaurant in usually-secure
West Jerusalem, when he heard what he first thought were
firecrackers. He looked up the crowded street. "We saw three
terrorists dressed in black with Kalatchnikovs, running up the
Sprague and his friends ran into the restaurant and saw, through
its windows, people getting hit with gunfire at another cafe across
the street called "The Yemenite Step." "Bullets started hitting the
wall on our side here in the restaurant. And also I saw two people
at Yemenite Step get hit and went down. There was (gun) fire on
the tables and the chairs were getting thrown around."
Sprague is a security consultant to the Jerusalem city government.
He generally works in predominantly-Arab East Jerusalem, but his
training came in handy in a place where he never expected to use it
-- his favorite spot in West Jerusalem to relax after a hard day.
"I got everyone who was in the restaurant upstairs on the roof and
stood there with my gun, loaded and cocked, (pointing) on the door
from the stairs upstairs to make sure none of the terrorists could
come upstairs. We had about 30 customers sitting upstairs. They
were all scared out of their minds."
And there was good reason to be scared, as the shooting went on
and became mixed with screams. "Unfortunately, there were two
people who were wounded at the Yemenite Step who were screaming for
help, but we couldn't go outside to help them because the firing
was still going on. And there weren't any police yet in the area,
there were just terrorists firing. And you could hear them
screaming, but no one could go outside to help them."
Sprague began to hear other shooting mixed with the terrorists'
automatic weapons fire. Individuals, and then the police, were
shooting back. Finally, after 15 minutes, it ended. Sprague went
downstairs to survey the damage, which included bullet holes in the
restaurant's windows and walls. "We actually had a terrorist
standing in our door, firing. We had shell casings and a spent
cartridge inside the restaurant. What the terrorist did was he
ran off then and proceeded up the street, where he shot a very good
friend of mine. Thank God, he's all right, he's in the hospital.
The terrorist was killed, he was shot right in front of one of the
stores. And I saw his body."
Sprague says the Israeli police and army arrived in force about
that time -- taking defensive positions on rooftops and blowing up
packages panicked diners had left behind. They feared one of them
might be a bomb. He says the bomb squad also blew up the bodies of
the two dead gunmen, in case they had been booby trapped. Other
troops sealed off the King David hotel -- less than one kilometer
away -- where US Secretary of State Warren Christopher was staying.
The wounded lay all along the usually festive promenade. Keith
Sprague says it was a horrible scene, but it could easily have been
worse. Two hours before and it would have been a massacre. I
was sitting about two hours before, at about 9:30, I was sitting
with a friend of mine having dinner and the street was packed, you
couldn't walk, but by 11:30, Sunday night, thank God, there weren't
so many people, but still it was crowded."
Sprague -- an American immigrant to Israel -- is a trained security
officer. Still, he was clearly shaken by the events of Sunday
night. He said he is accustomed to expecting such things to happen
in Israel's occupied territories, but not here, in the heart of
Jerusalem. He says such an attack has been his worst nightmare for
years. Suddenly, Sunday night, he found himself in the middle of
Christopher's Shuttle Includes Kuwait
By Ron Pemstein and Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
US Secretary of State Warren Christopher meets Israeli leaders
today to continue his role as a facilitator in the negotiations
between Israel and Syria, however, Iraq's movement of troops
toward Kuwait is adding another element to the secretary of state's
Middle East peace shuttle.
Christopher has added Kuwait to his week long tour that has been
directed to bridge the gaps between Israel and Syria over the
schedule of Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights and other
issues affecting efforts for peaceful relations between Jerusalem
Christopher will pause in his shuttle mission between Israel
and Syria on Wednesday to visit Kuwait, to demonstrate American
resolve in defending the Gulf state against Iraq. He will also
discuss here, with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres, contingency planning if Saddam Hussein
diverts his attention to attacking Israel, as he did with missiles
during the Gulf war four years ago.
The secretary of state told reporters after arrival here he does
not expect Iraq's movement of troops to interfere with what he
calls his facilitating role in bringing Israel and Syria closer
"My judgment is that the very fact that the Coalition is so
strongly opposed to what Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis are doing
here, it gives even more movement to the peace process. As you
know, Syria and Egypt as well as the Arab League and the
Organization of Islamic Conference have come out very strongly
against these moves by Saddam Hussein. So I think the fact that
the countries in the region are so strongly opposed to this
action ought to be really a force to moving the peace process
forward. So I do not expect to be deterred in my efforts to help
facilitate the process. I certainly do not intend to let that
The secretary of state says the United States is better prepared
to confront Iraq than it was four years ago, and he warns Saddam
Hussein against trying to put pressure on the world community to
lift sanctions against Iraq. "If that is his calculation, I would
say it is a vast miscalculation."
Christopher has been encouraged in his Middle East peace efforts by
the interview Syria's Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara gave last
week to Israeli television. While the substance of the foreign
minister's remarks did not differ from Syria's public position,
Christopher says such an interview would not have been given
three years ago at the beginning of the Middle East peace
conference in Madrid.
Psychologically, a lot has changed in the Middle East since
Christopher's last trip to the region in August. Saudi Arabia and
five other Gulf states have partially lifted their economic boycott
against Israel. The Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has met
with his counterparts from Tunisia and Oman and has agreed with
Tunisia to open economic offices. Israel and Jordan have agreed to
complete work on a peace treaty by the end of the year. Syria's
foreign minister, on a visit to Washington, has met with Jewish
groups and has given an interview to Israeli television.
Al-Shara, in a first-ever interview with an Israeli journalist,
says peace with Damascus would guarantee security on Israel's
northern border. The interview televised on Israel television
marked the first time a Syrian official has directly addressed the
The interview was conducted in Washington by one of Israel's
leading reporters -- two days before Christopher arrived in the
Middle East for a new round of shuttle diplomacy.
Syria is demanding Israel withdraw completely from the Golan
Heights - captured in the 1967 war - before it agrees to a peace
treaty. But in three years of mainly deadlocked talks, Israel
has refused to specify the extent of the withdrawal it is willing
to make on the heights. Israel wants total peace, including open
borders, trade and an exchange of ambassadors.
Al-Shara broke no new ground in the interview, but expressed
the view it is in the common interest of Syria and Israel to move
quickly to peace. "I think the peoples in the region, and the
people in Israel as well as in Syria would like to see peace
achieved as soon as possible. It has already taken three-years of
negotiations, a few other months would be all right. But I think
that if this opportunity would slip away, no one would know what
the future of the region would be."
The Syrian foreign minister said the faster the withdrawal from
the Golan Heights takes place, the faster the fruits of peace
will appear. He added he believes the people in Israel
understand Syria is committed to real peace in the region.
In the past, Syrian officials have refused to respond to questions
from Israeli reporters during news conferences. The unprecedented
interview with al-Shara on Israel television - which took months of
requests and negotiations to arrange - seems to be part of a
measured campaign to persuade Israelis of Syria's sincerity to
pursue peace. Israelis may be asked to vote about withdrawal from
the Golan Heights.
Interviewed during the same program, Israel's Ambassador to the
United States, Itamar Rabinovich, commented there was no new
political message in the interview, but its significance is Syria
was addressing the Israeli public directly. As he put it -- the
medium was the message.
It is clear, a senior US official says, the context for peace in
the Middle East is changing. At the same time, he says, the gaps
between Israel and Syria are still too large to say they are on
the brink of a breakthrough.
Israeli Military 'Monitoring' Iraq
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
In Israel -- which was the target of Iraqi Scud missiles during the
1991 Gulf war -- the government says it is not particularly
concerned by Iraq's current troop movements. However, Israel is
keeping close watch on the situation, but is not taking any other
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Saturday he believes
Iraq no longer has the capability to threaten Israel with missile
attacks because it has few if any Scud missiles left after allied
bombing during the war.
Some other experts disagree, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal
Palmor says it doesn't matter, at least for now. "Last time they
used them, only in the framework of a very broad attack, of a very
broad campaign. It wasn't the first priority goal of the war. So
I think that unless the situation deteriorates in a very dramatic
and unexpected way, there is absolutely no place to fear here in
Still, Israel's military says it is closely monitoring the
situation in Iraq, and Peres said if Scuds are discovered there
will be "much more rigid monitoring."
Peres also described Saddam Hussein as "half crazy," but predicted
he will not again invade Kuwait.
Israeli-Jordanian Talks to Resume Today
Bilateral Israeli-Jordanian talks will resume today in Eilat and
are scheduled to last four days. The talks, which will break up
into a number of committees and subcommittees, will focus on three
main issues: Jordanian territorial demands - mostly in the Arava
region, Jordan's demand to increase the amount of water it receives
from the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee and future security
arrangements to prevail after a peace treaty is concluded. While
the formal bilateral talks take place, the two sides are also
addressing substantive issues on a separate track of talks led by
the head of the delegation to the talks with Jordan - Elyakim
Rubinstein and Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan.
Israel and Turkey Reach Agreement on Fighting Terrorism
Senior Turkish officials revealed that Israel and Turkey have
reached a draft agreement on joint efforts to combat international
terrorism. The agreement was reportedly reached during Police
Commissioner Assaf Hefetz' visit to Turkey last week where he met
with Mehmet Agar, the head of Turkey's security services. The two
reportedly agreed on expanding joint Israeli-Turkish efforts in
fighting terrorism, drug-trafficking and organized crime.
Palestinians Detained After Hebron, Beersheva Attacks
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli soldiers have shot and killed a Palestinian who allegedly
threw acid at them in the West Bank city of Hebron -- the third
such incident in the past week. Two of the Israeli soldiers were
slightly injured by the acid. The shooting happened just a few
hours after a bomb went off about 27 miles away in an Israeli town.
Friday's shooting happened near the Cave of the Patriarchs in
Hebron, the site of a massacre of Muslim worshipers by an Israeli
earlier this year. The cave has been closed ever since and is
expected to reopen later this month.
It was the third time Israeli soldiers in Hebron killed a
Palestinian who allegedly attacked them since the previous Friday.
The town and most of the West Bank are expected to be turned over
to the new Palestinian Autonomy Authority in a few months. Radical
Palestinian groups which oppose the peace process have been
carrying out a series of attacks aimed at scaring Israelis -- and
Israeli leaders -- away from expanding autonomy. Both Israeli and
Palestinian officials say that will not happen.
Police also suspect the radical Palestinian groups in a bombing
in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva Friday. The small bomb
caused no serious damage or injuries in the town's Old City
area. Earlier, police found and removed another bomb in
Beersheva, which had been placed near a department store and a
kindergarten. Police temporarily sealed off the city and arrested
at least 20 Arabs for questioning.
Skinheads Attack Foreigners in Germany
By Evans Hays (Bonn)
German authorities have reported more right-wing, anti-foreigner
violence over the weekend. Police say several people were injured
in the attacks in Berlin and Magdeburg when a band of neo-Nazi
skinheads went on a rampage, beating and robbing passengers on the
Berlin subway system. Victims of the violence included a
37-year-old man from Mozambique.
Police say skinheads also tried to push two men off a train, but
failed. Three of the neo-Nazis were detained for vandalism, but
the others escaped.
In Magdeburg, four asylum-seekers were attacked by skinheads.
Police described the victims only as being from Africa. Police
were unable to catch the attackers.
The latest incidents follow the arrest last week of four
right-wingers accused of pushing a man from Ghana off a train
north of Berlin. The Ghanian was found stabbed by the rail tracks.
Authorities say the victim was also apparently run over by a train,
severing a leg. There have been thousands of attacks on foreigners
in Germany since unification. About 30 people have been killed.
Ukraine's Jews Ponder: Stay or Go?
Hatikvah News Service
For the Jewish community of Ukraine, one of the world's largest,
the future looms like an ominous question mark. The dreams,
desires, anxieties and uncertainties can be reduced to a single
query: To stay or to go?
Emigration to Israel is accelerating so rapidly that Ukraine now
has the fastest-growing emigration rates in the former Soviet
Union, according to officials with the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Yet at the same time, Jewish life is beginning to flourish, with
schools, camps, Yiddish clubs, newspapers, cultural groups and
religious organizations expanding by leaps and bounds.
Not surprisingly, planning ahead is difficult, especially since the
national political situation is tense and unclear. "I have no sense
of what's going to happen," said Rabbi Ya'akov Bleich, the chief
rabbi of Ukraine's approximately 500,000 Jews. "I don't think
everyone is going to move out in the next three or five years, but
then again, I wouldn't advise building a new synagogue."
"The more people go, the more people come. This is our paradox,"
said Kira Verkhovskaya, a Jewish leader from Odessa, referring to
the simultaneous trends of emigration and new affiliation with the
For those boarding planes to Tel Aviv, financial problems appear to
be a primary motivation. While average wages are stuck at about $20
a month, consumer items like clothing and appliances cost about the
same as they do in the West. Industrial production is plummeting,
market reform is only hiccuping along and hyperinflation means that
Ukraine's currency, the coupon, now runs at more than 45,000 to the
"For the most part, Jews are leaving for economic reasons,"
according to Zvi Rom, who oversees the Jewish Agency office in
Kiev. "It's not really aliyah, it's repatriation, because it's not
for ideological reasons," he said. "As an Israeli, I would like to
see Jews leave Ukraine because they have come to the conclusion
that Jews should live in Israel, but that is not what is
Still, a growing proportion of Ukrainian Jews have decided to move
to Israel after attending the new Sunday schools for adults and
sending their children to Jewish day schools. Others are leaving to
be with loved ones. Nearly every member of the Jewish community
here has close friends or relatives living in Israel who are urging
them to make the move.
Another push is anti-Semitism. While the new president, Leonid
Kuchma, is following the friendly policies toward Jews that have
become the norm since independence, the country's sputtering
economy is straining his staying power.
The number of Ukrainian Jews choosing Israel is constantly
increasing. While emigration statistics are dropping slightly in
Russia, where the economic and political mayhem has stabilized
somewhat, Ukrainian emigration has nearly doubled in the past year,
from 1,300 a month to 2,300 each month, according to Chaim Chesler,
who oversees the Jewish Agency in the former Soviet Union.
Despite the many departures, Jewish life continues its vigorous
revival in the land that produced Chasidic Judaism, populist
Zionism and dozens of gifted Yiddish writers before the dark years
of Soviet repression.
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