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>PD NOVEMBER 21, 1994, V2, #208

Too Much Work is not good for Teen Students

A new study indicates that "while part-time jobs may be a good thing for keeping teens out of trouble, too much of a good thing may get them back into it." A survey of 70,000 high school students finds that "those who worked a few hours a week seemed

better off than those who worked many hours and, in some cases,
better off than those who didn't work at all."

Tomato Crisis Consumes Jewish Homeland

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel and Jordan have a variety of cooperation plans they hope to implement under the peace accord signed last month. But one possible area of cooperation was not specifically foreseen. It has to do with Israel's tomato crisis, and Jordan's effort to help end it.

It is a crisis indeed to many Israelis. Certainly not on the level of terrorism or the question of what to do about the Golan Heights, but still a crisis.

The staple salad here is diced tomatoes and cucumbers. Indeed it is called "Israeli salad." Take away the tomatoes and, well, many Israelis do not even want to think about it.

But the tomatoes have been taken away -- or more precisely priced out of reach for many Israelis -- by a 40 percent shortfall in supply and an accompanying 350 percent increase in price.

Israeli farmers had been losing money on tomatoes for years. So earlier this year, many of them switched to other crops, creating the shortage and some of the price increase.

Prices really skyrocketed during the past two weeks, after Israel barred produce from autonomous Gaza because of a cholera outbreak. Retail tomato prices in Israel are approaching $2.25 a pound.

Enter Jordan. The paint is barely dry and traffic is light on the new bridge along the northern part of the Israel-Jordan border, opened a week ago in an elaborate ceremony. Jordanian agriculture authorities decided to use the bridge to help solve the Israeli tomato crisis and to take advantage of the high prices it has brought.

But Israeli Agriculture Ministry spokesman Ronny Hassid says there was a problem with the first shipment. "They were not good. So the Jordanians themselves decided not to send them to Israel because they did not want that Israel would return it."

There is also an ongoing dispute about the price -- perhaps just the kind of neighborly clash diplomats had in mind to replace military confrontation.

Hassid says in any case, Jordan cannot solve the problem by itself. Israel needs to import 5,000 tons of tomatoes a month -- much more than Jordan can supply. So the Israelis have turned to other foreign suppliers including Spain and the Canary Islands. And Hassid says the Gaza produce might be allowed in again within the next few weeks.

So he says the country will limp along with about enough high-priced tomatoes until the new domestic crop comes in next February.

Prelude to Palestinian Civil War?

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

In the Palestinian area of Gaza, efforts are continuing to maintain quiet following Friday's killing of at least 13 Gazans by Palestinian police. Israel's Cabinet -- at its weekly meeting Sunday -- said despite the violence in Gaza, it intends to continue negotiations on the next step on Palestinian self-rule.

Although the militant Islamic group Hamas and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat have both taken steps to cool tensions in Gaza, they still blame each other for what Hamas is calling Friday's massacre. Police under the PLO-run Palestinian Authority in Gaza killed a dozen protesters in street battles which began outside a mosque.

On Saturday, 2,000 Palestinian demonstrators overran an Israel army checkpost near the isolated Jewish settlement of Netzarim. Later, Hamas gunmen sprayed automatic weapons fire at the post killing a reserve soldier -- the fourth killed in the same spot in less than two weeks.

The violence spilled over into the West Bank in riots throughout Saturday. Clashes with Israeli troops left three Palestinians dead and several wounded.

Following Sunday's Cabinet meeting, Police Minister Moshe Shahal said Friday's clash was strictly was strictly an internal Palestinian matter, and that Israel should not interfere.

Shahal said that Israel must protect Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank and that Israel would continue with the second phase of the peace process, expanding self-rule to the West Bank.

Anatomy of War...or Peace!

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Friday's clashes in Gaza were the most stark indicators so far of the rift in the Palestinian community. Some commentators called it the beginning of a Palestinian civil war, but there are already indications the violence could inspire more dialogue and conciliation to avoid such a war.

While sporadic gunfire was still echoing through the streets of Gaza Friday afternoon, two seemingly contradictory things were happening. Angry demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of the Palestinian Autonomy Authority shouting that the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, would have to pay for the killings by his police officers. And, at the same time, talks were underway between the Authority and radical leaders designed to ease the crisis. Those talks resulted in a truce agreement which prevented further violence between the two groups on Saturday and Sunday.

Palestinian analysts have been trying to figure out whether the calls for violence or efforts at conciliation are the trend of the future. Among them is the director of a Palestinian news service and former professor and Palestinian negotiator Ghassan al-Khatib. He says Friday's violence was not necessarily a definitive turning point. "I guess it will calm down, but there will continue to be some clashes and some tension here and there, and potential explosions as well."

Al-Khatib says the decision by the Palestinian police to fire on demonstrators was a serious setback for Arafat. He says it was a show of weakness and the deaths alienated many Palestinians. But al-Khatib also acknowledges Arafat could benefit from having shown his willingness to get tough with his opponents and the violence could cause all the groups involved to think more about how to avoid further bloodshed.

But al-Khatib says the amount of support for Arafat and the radicals is only one factor determining whether there will be a civil war in Gaza and whether autonomy will succeed. He says to avoid further conflict, the Autonomy Authority, Israel, and Western nations must do more, much more, to convince Palestinians there is progress toward reaching their political goals. He says that means more money now for Palestinian economic development and creating a state -- or at least genuine autonomy -- in Gaza and all of the West Bank very soon.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres seemed to be in accord with at least some of that when, at Sunday's Cabinet meeting, He suggested advancing $13 million to the Palestinian Authority. Ministers also emphasized that Israel will proceed with the expansion of Palestinian autonomy, and perhaps even speed up the process.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, Arafat agreed to establish a joint committee with the radicals aimed at preventing further street violence and announced he would compensate the families of those killed on Friday.

But those conciliatory statements were followed by a threat from the military wing of the radical group Hamas, which said it would exact "bitter revenge" for Friday's killings. Still, even that was accompanied by an offer of peace if Arafat would fire three top officials and take a few other conciliatory steps. And the Hamas political leadership tried to divert Palestinian anger away from the Autonomy Authority, calling on people to vent their emotions on Israeli targets, and suggesting Israeli agents might have instigated Friday's violence.

Some observers suggested that having seen the specter of civil war in the streets of Gaza Friday, the moderates and at least some of the radicals are trying hard to avoid it.

Superhighway Set to Skirt Pyramids

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

In another tug-of-war between culture and development, UNESCO's director of world heritage sites is up in arms over a new eight-lane highway that will pass right by the world-famous pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo. Sayeed Zulficar warns that the highway will strangle the pyramids and bring urban sprawl to the last of the seven wonders of the world.

The pyramids were built more than 7,000 years ago as burial chambers for the great pharaohs. By tradition the tombs of the dead were placed in the barren desert away from the fertile land of the living on the banks of the Nile River. Hotels, shops, and houses have sprouted up alongside the historic sites as Cairo's growing population pushes out from the city center.

Now a new highway will pass within 1.2 miles of the historic site. The 10-year project is due to be finished in about three years and is designed to keep heavy traffic out of the crowded capital.

Zulficar says enough is enough. He says the new highway defies the 1972 World Heritage Agreement and Egypt's 1983 Antiquities Law forbidding construction in archeological zones. "What has made the cup spill over is the highway now is going to turn the Pyramids of Giza into an urban site. They've already got buildings on two sides and now you're going to get the highway completely encircling the Pyramids of Giza, which will incite urban sprawl and expansion."

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