Newsletter : 4fax1026.txt
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>PD October 26, 1994 V2, #196
Israel and Jordan Make Peace in Desert
By Peyman Pejman (Cairo)
President Bill Clinton started his six-nation Middle East tour last
night with his first stop in Egypt. The president's first meeting
during his four-day tour was with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
Mubarak has been a main ally of Washington in the Middle East and
Clinton reviewed a range of regional issues with his Egyptian
One of the major topics the two leaders discussed is progress in
the Syrian/Israeli peace talks. Clinton will travel to Damascus
Thursday for a meeting with Syrian President Hafez Assad, hoping
his visit will break the ice in the stalled Israeli/Syrian peace
Before leaving Egypt this morning, Clinton will meet with Yasir
Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
President Clinton is likely to emphasize to the Palestinian leader
the need to press ahead with the Israeli/Palestinian peace
negotiations and for the Palestinian Authority to bring under
control radical Islamic movements opposed to the peace agreement.
Clinton will then board Air Force One and leave for Aqaba Jordan,
near a border crossing where he will attend the 1 p.m. (Israel
time) signing ceremony of the Jordanian-Israeli peace accord with
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein.
Knesset Approves Treaty 105-3
By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)
Israel's parliament gave overwhelming support to a historic peace
treaty with Jordan hours before the signing ceremony. Israeli Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin went to this morning's signing of a peace
treaty with Jordan with broad support from his people. Parliament
approved the treaty after a 12-hour debate with a sweeping majority
of 105 to 3.
Rabin told the Knesset the peace treaty with Jordan opened a new
era and would change the lives of the Israelis. He foresaw new
opportunities for business and travel. He voiced the hope that
after Jordan, Syria would follow in ending decades of hostilities
with the Jewish state.
Some objections to the treaty came from rightist opposition
parties. They focused on the status of Jerusalem. In the peace
treaty Israel recognizes Jordan's historic role as custodian of
Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
This also angered Palestinians who see Jerusalem as the capital
of future Palestinian state. PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat lashed
out at the agreement, saying Jerusalem was the eternal capital of
Palestine, no matter what anybody said.
Jordan will become only the second Arab state to make peace with
Israel. Egypt was the first in 1979. Jordan and Israel have
fought three wars.
Some 5,000 guests are expected at today's signing ceremony on the
Israel-Jordan border, in the arava desert north of Eilat and Aqaba.
Prominent among them is President Clinton. At the ceremony,
Israeli and Jordanian generals, who once were enemies, will
exchange gifts. And in Israel, soldiers will mark the day by
laying wreaths on the graves of their fallen comrades.
Why Did Clinton Come to the Desert?
By Lauri Neff (White House)
President Clinton embarked on a six-nation Middle East tour Tuesday
-- the highlight of which is this morning's signing of a peace
treaty between Israel and Jordan. President Clinton says the event
brings the United States closer to fulfilling its mission to bring
peace to the entire region. The aim of his Middle East tour is to
celebrate the Israeli/Jordanian peace treaty -- and to encourage
other such accords in the region.
"Above all else, I go to the Middle East to deliver one, clear
message: the United States stands by those, who, in the words of
the Psalms, "seek peace and pursue it". And we stand up to those
who threaten to destroy the dream that has brought us to this
Clinton, speaking before his departure from the White House, said
that progress in Middle East peace efforts has sparked a new wave
of violence in the region, but he urged the parties involved to
press forward. He said the people of the Middle East were at a
"In one direction lies the dark past of violence, terrorism and
insecurity the desperate enemies of peace seek to prolong. In the
other lies a brighter future -- a brighter future that Israel and
all her Arab neighbors can achieve if they have the courage to
stand up to violence, to terrorism, to mistrust, to build that
Clinton Hopes to Unlock Syrian/Israeli Stalemate
By Laurie Kassman (Damascus)
President Bill Clinton's planned four and a half hour visit to
Syria on Thursday is aimed at unlocking the stalemate in
Syrian/Israeli peace negotiations. The signing of a separate
peace treaty between Jordan and Israel is an added push to that
effort. Syria still holds the key to a comprehensive Middle East
Clinton's visit to Damascus is the first by a US president in two
decades. It is viewed in Syria as underlining the critical role of
Syria in the Middle East peace process.
For the population at large, it also makes the prospect of peace
more tangible. Most citizens here express an overwhelming fatigue
after decades of Arab/Israeli conflict and hatred. They are not
yet ready for warm relations with Israel but most say they are
ready for peace.
Diplomats here say President Hafez al-Assad is ready too. The
signals have been multiplying since Assad's first meeting with
Clinton in Geneva last January. Syria's foreign minister recently
appeared in an interview on Israeli television and met with Jewish
leaders in the United States to talk about the peace process. On
the eve of the signing of a peace treaty with Jordan, Israel's
prime minister repeated his hopes for a peace soon with Syria.
Clinton's main goal during the visit is to nudge Assad to resume
peace negotiations. Both sides will be looking for a signal, a
gesture that will break the current deadlock.
Some observers here suggest Jordan's peace treaty and the
Palestinian Autonomy deal have isolated the Syrian leader and
increased the pressure. But one analyst here suggests that Assad's
patience is his strength and lets him analyze the maneuverings and
mistakes of others before making his final moves.
Syria says it will settle for nothing less than Israel's complete
withdrawal from the Golan Heights, which it seized in the 1967
Arab/Israeli war. But first Israel wants Syria to promise full,
Talks have bogged down in disputes about the timing of an Israeli
withdrawal from the border area and international security
arrangements once it is completed. So far, Israeli leaders talk
of a pullout on the Golan Heights, not from it.
Another issue of US concern is Syrian support for terrorism, which
still clouds relations between Damascus and Washington. Syria is
one of seven governments listed by the State Department as a
terrorist-sponsoring nation. As many as 10 radical Palestinian
groups have their offices here. So do Kurdish rebels. Syria also
has facilitated the delivery of supplies to Iranian-backed
guerrilla groups in southern Lebanon.
Some Syrian officials argue that keeping Syria on the State
Department list is just another form of pressure. Since 1979,
the US Government has restricted financial aid and trade, including
the sale or transfer of hi-tech products. Last year Kuwait's gift
of three US made planes to Syria was delayed for months until a
waiver was granted.
Businessmen here say the sanctions, especially in technology,
have made it more difficult to diversify the economy and prepare
it for the competition of a peacetime Middle East market. They
are looking at the Clinton-Assad meeting as a needed push for
peace and a signal of better times to come.
KLM Hub Relocates to Ben-Gurion Airport
The Royal Dutch K.L.M. Airlines, now celebrating its 75th
anniversary, is planning to move its Middle East hub-center of
operations to Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. A
company spokesman said Israel is the most natural site for this, in
the era of peace, handling flights from Europe to Africa, Asia, the
Far East and the Middle East. The company is waiting for approval
from the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority to use freight planes and
not just dual-purpose aircraft on the line to Israel.
2700 lbs. of Grapes Poisoned
About 2700 lbs. of Hebron grapes (owned by Arabs) sprayed with
poisonous pesticide and about 700 eggs which had been dipped in a
poisonous material were seized by agriculture ministry inspectors
last week. The poisoned foods were brought into "Israel proper" by
Arabs in the Judea area.
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