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>PD NOVEMBER 1, 1994, V2 #200

Former Chief Rabbi Goren Dies at 77

Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who became world famous as chief rabbi of the Israeli army during the Six Day War, has died in Jerusalem at the age of 77. It was during the 1967 fighting that Goren was photographed reaching the Western Wall in Jerusalem and on the summit of Mount Sinai. He later became chief rabbi, issuing a series of humane - but at times - also controversial rabbinical rulings.

Waxman Tortured by Hamas Before Being Murdered

Reports now are surfacing that Nachshon Waxman was tortured immensely before his murder at the hands of Hamas terrorists. According to a report, Waxman's teeth had been knocked out and his fingers cut off during his captivity.

No official confirmation of this report has been issued by the military in Israel, however, Waxman's mother has apparently stated that after seeing the videotape of her son in captivity she realized that he was missing teeth, but the government of Israel had asked her not to publicize this fact as it was afraid that this could worsen Waxman's plight by making the terrorists feel that Israelis were likely to consider his situation 'helpless.'

If Water Problem is Solved, Mideast Peace May Last

By Laurie Kassman (Casablanca)

The Casablanca economic summit is trying to put together a framework for economic development in a peaceful Middle East. One of the top priorities for the region is to find new water sources amid warnings that the fight for water, not oil, could spark the next regional battle.

The director-general of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development warns that water, or the lack of it, could spark the next war in the Middle East. Abdlatif al-Hamad says the region's most serious challenge is the sharing of scarce water resources. "This will be the single most important cause for political and social friction by the turn of the century. The limitations of this resource in the area are as great as the needs."

There are already disputes between Syria, Iraq and Turkey over sharing of waterflow from Turkey. Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy areas are seeking ways to share the water of the Jordan River and underground reservoirs that run beneath their borders. The Casablanca summit devoted a two-hour discussion to the issue. Participants raised questions about the rights of the haves and have-nots and the need for water sharing across borders. In an increasingly arid region, the search is on for the most efficient and least costly water supplies -- from region-wide transport of water through pipelines and canals to desalinization and recycling.

The president of Israel's Ben-Gurion University Avishay Braverman heads up a research team to find new water supplies. He says one of the best options is to use second-hand water. "Why? Because given the population growth and the urban sector creating so much waste water and this waste water is completely destroying the aquifer. So let's purify the waste water. When you purify the waste water you can reuse it for agriculture."

In the Jordan Valley, Braverman says sea water too must provide new supplies. "The solution lies in the sea. And this is the time for us to assess the desalination of sea water, the cost is $1.10 per cubic meter and can be brought done effectively and the expenditure required for that (building the plants) for the next 50 years are less than one year's defense expenditure for this area."

Braverman raises alarm bells about the urgent need to service Palestinian consumers in Gaza where fresh water is in short supply. "You have to create water for them immediately. I think you have to invest immediately-- the international community -- in treating sewage, in treating waste water and essentially create desalination plants. Immediately and I think the international community should help Gaza immediately."

The Israeli educator says the Middle East must exploit the natural resources it does have, the sun, the sea and the desert -- the sun for energy, the sea for water and the desert to house its expanding population and leave the narrow strips of fertile area for growing food.

Christopher Expects Arab Boycott Will Soon End

By Ron Pemstein (Casablanca)

Secretary of State Warren Christopher says the United States has achieved all of its objectives at the Casablanca economic summit meeting; the Arab Boycott of Israel is starting to crumble and Arab-Israeli business deals are being made.

When Christopher held talks at Jordan's villa here with Crown Prince Hassan and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, he saw a sign that a new day has arrived for the Middle East and North Africa.

"As I was leaving, I looked down in the garden and I saw a large group of businessmen and women conversing very animatedly on the lawn and it turned out to be a group of Israeli and Arab business leaders who were doing the things that businessmen and women do best of all, and that is to talk about important deals in the future."

The secretary says the United States has achieved all of its objectives at this conference, winning approval for the concept of a development bank for the Middle East and North Africa as well as for a regional tourism board and a regional chamber of commerce. One of the restrictions on trade between Israel and the Arabs has been the Arab Boycott of Israel that started to crumble when Saudi Arabia and the other five members of the Gulf Cooperation Council ended aspects of their boycott.

Christopher told reporters the Arab League will meet early next year and he expects the action by the Gulf countries to be approved by the other members.

"I think there's a wide recognition here that the very idea of this conference is inconsistent with the maintenance of the boycott. The boycott is really a relic of the past and should be put behind us. I think there's an understanding that is the fact and we're just looking for the momentum to finally achieve an end to the boycott completely because as I say it's inconsistent with the business deals that are being discussed and done here and it's inconsistent with the spirit and purpose of this conference. So I would hope at the next meeting of the Arab League there would be a strong move to end the boycott completely."

The primary boycott--direct trade between Arab countries and Israel--is still observed on paper if not in practice. An Arab diplomat says he expects a peace agreement between Israel and Syria will mean the end of the Arab Boycott entirely. On other issues, Christopher met with Yasir Arafat at the end of his two-day stay here.

The Secretary of State praised the Palestinian Authority for establishing a six month budget and for keeping better accounting of aid received in Gaza and Jericho. Christopher says the United States will organize a donor's conference for mid-November to make sure all pledges to the Palestinian Authority are paid in full.

Christopher took some time for sightseeing Monday. During his excursion, Christopher paid tribute to Islam. He took a few moments out from his bilateral meetings here to visit the monumental Hassan, the second mosque completed last year on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

After his tour of the $550 million mosque and admiring its 200-meter-tall minaret, Christopher echoed President Clinton's remarks to the Jordanian parliament last week that the United States has no conflict with Islam.

"The United States respects Islam, that we reject the idea that there is any necessary or fundamental conflict or hostility between Islam (and us). Seeing this building and hearing it described underscores, I think, the traditions of the religion are very consistent with our very best traditions."

Israel May Consider Lebanon Cease Fire

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel's prime minister has asked US mediators to look into a cease-fire offer made by Lebanon's president, however the prime minister is skeptical about the offer because of a key condition attached to it. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin says the proposal by Lebanese President Elias Hrawi is "a non-starter" if it requires Israel to commit to withdraw its forces from southern Lebanon. Hrawi's proposal would appear to do just that.

In an interview with Egypt's Middle East News Agency, the Lebanese president said he would establish a joint Israeli-Lebanese committee to discuss the timetable for an Israeli withdrawal, if Israel would promise in advance that it would, in the end, withdraw its troops. Hrawi said he would guarantee a ceasefire while talks were in progress.

But speaking Monday in Jerusalem, Rabin said he is not prepared to commit to a withdrawal based solely on promises from President Hrawi. He says the Lebanese government must first prove that it could control southern Lebanon, keep it free from terrorism by the Iran-backed group Hizbullah and prevent attacks on Israel across the border.

"We made our position very clear vis a vis Lebanon in a context of negotiations of signing a peace treaty in certain phases in which we put them into a test for six months after they're deploying the Lebanese army north of the security zone and proving that they can dismantle Hizbullah and they can prevent any terror act, only then we will be ready to negotiate and sign, within three months, in addition to the six months.

Israel and its Lebanese Christian militia allies control an area of southern Lebanon, some 6-9 miles wide, along the Israeli border. There has been an increase in hostility in the area during the last two weeks, including shelling in both directions and an attack by Hizbullah forces on Saturday which killed an Israeli soldier at a command post.

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