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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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