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>PD November 3, 1994, V2, #202

Zhirinovsky to Visit U.S.A.

By Victor Beattie (Washington)

The United States has granted a tourist visa to Russian ultra-nationalist parliamentarian Vladimir Zhirinovsky saying the decision is not an endorsement of his views. The decision to grant the limited visa has been criticized by Jewish and human rights groups.

Zhirinovsky is scheduled to give an address to the World Affairs Council in San Francisco Monday on "The New Russia." He hopes to visit Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

State Department spokesman David Johnson says the decision should not be regarded as an endorsement of Zhirinovsky's views or support for his political ambitions. He says the US Government finds his views anathema. He said the Russian lawmaker's movements would not be restricted but there are no plans for a meeting with US officials.

His views -- which include a revived Soviet Union that might incorporate other countries -- have been denounced by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher as "beyond the pale."

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center calls the US decision unfortunate: "It's a terrible signal domestically to the people in Russia and to the democratic forces there that are constantly under attack and for the life of me I don't understand why such a decision was made."

Cooper was joined by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry in condemning Zhirinovsky's views as anti-religious, anti-Semitic and racist.

IDF Officer Says Hizbullah Attacks Up 50 Percent This Year

An investigation into this weekend's Hizbullah attack on an IDF post in southern Lebanon, in which one Israeli soldier was killed, is according to Israel Radio, almost completed. The soldier was killed because, the report will conclude, Israeli forces failed to spot the Hizbullah detachment and alert IDF soldiers at the post.

A senior IDF officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hizbullah attacks in southern Lebanon are up 50 percent this year, the report added.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin also told the committee that the Hizbullah receives its weapons from Iran via Syria.

Israeli Newspapers Comment on Jerusalem Muslim Holy Sites

In editorials published Wednesday, two Israeli newspapers analyze Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan's statement that Jordan would be prepared, at some future date, to concede its rights over Islamic holy places in Jerusalem to either the Palestinians or some pan-Islamic body:

Ma'ariv believes that the Crown Prince's statement signifies "a Jordanian surrender to the Palestinian reality," and suggests that "the Jordanian royal house's failure in securing the appointment of its own mufti in Jerusalem taught Hussein and Hassan a lesson." In fact, Jordan has now relinquished its political and religious influence over the territories. The paper notes that "the Jordanian concession negates the possibility of Israel exploiting the rivalry between Hussein and Arafat in the struggle for control of the Temple Mount," but adds that "all of this is based on the assumption that Crown Prince Hassan's statement will not be denied or proven false."

Yediot Ahronot says that the Casablanca conference did herald a virtual end to the "Berlin wall" syndrome of the Middle East. Politically, the conference's most important event was Prince Hassan's announcement on Jerusalem -- i.e. that "Jordan's Hashemite dynasty has stopped demanding exclusive responsibility over the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem;" the paper suspects that "it was pan-Arab pressure which led to this surprising step." The editors believe that Crown Prince Hassan's statement hints at Jordan's preferred solution to the Jerusalem quandary: "administration of the holy places by a pan-Islamic, supra-national committee -- separate from the Palestinian Waqf -- that would continue to administer Palestinian religious affairs in Jerusalem and in all areas to be put under their control." Moreover, "this solution is likely to be acceptable to Israel as well, given that there is no reason to oppose it."

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