Newsletter : 4fax1202.txt
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>PD Dec. 2, 1994, V2, #216
Ax Murderer's Victim Buried
Several thousand people attended Thursday's funeral for IDF
Sergeant Liat Gabai, 19, who was killed Wednesday in a terrorist
attack in Afula. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said the terrorist
who carried out the attack is a member of Hamas, adding that he was
imprisoned in Israel from 1989-1991, and in 1993. He said there
will be an investigation to determine how the terrorist entered
Israel carrying an ax.
Mubarak Confers with Assad
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was in Damascus Thursday for talks
with President Hafez al-Assad on the Middle East peace process.
The surprise visit comes just a few days ahead of US Secretary of
State Warren Christopher's Mideast shuttle in yet another attempt
to get Syrian/Israeli negotiations on track.
After a day of private talks with Mubarak, the Syrian leader told
reporters Israeli demands are unreasonable. He did not go into
any detail but said Syria prefers to keep things as they are rather
than yield to impossible demands.
The hardline remarks come less than a week before Christopher
is due in Damascus and Jerusalem for his sixth round of shuttle
Mubarak has been an active mediator in the peace talks. But he
firmly backs Syria's insistence on a full Israeli withdrawal from
the Golan Heights as a condition for peace. Israel wants Syria's
commitment first to normalize relations.
Syria's official media has criticized Israel and complains that
every time Christopher travels to the region to try to break
the deadlock in negotiations, the Israeli leaders spread pessimism
and raise tensions. When President Bill Clinton visited Damascus
last month, Assad said he was ready for peace but not at any
Palestinians Receive More Authority
By Al Pessin (Ramallah)
Israel gave the Palestinian Autonomy Authority control over
taxation and health care in the West Bank on Thursday, completing
a process designed to prepare the way for full Palestinian
The small crowd of officials applauded politely as Israel's
military governor for the West Bank shook hands with the
Palestinian finance minister, just after they had signed the
documents transferring taxation authority. Many officials
believe this is the most important of the responsibilities Israel
has turned over to the Palestinians. The others are health care,
welfare services, education and tourism.
But it is taxation which is supposed to pay for those other
activities, eventually replacing the international aid the
Palestinian authority now relies on. And taxation is by far the
most difficult and controversial of the powers the Palestinians
have been given in the West Bank. Most Palestinians refused to
pay Israeli taxes, or paid only a minimal amount, and there is
considerable skepticism that the Palestinian authority will do
But Palestinian Finance Minister Mohammed Nashashibi was optimistic
at Thursday's ceremony. "We have full confidence in our people that
they will hurry, and I have today an example, our people will
hurry to pay the expenses and our employees are very efficient to
collect it in the best way."
Nashashibi says Palestinians will pay their taxes because the
money will go for services they want, such as education and
With Thursday's ceremony in Ramallah -- and another for health
care in Nablus -- Israel has completed a process called "early
empowerment," designed to help the Palestinian authority prepare
for full autonomy, and to ease dissatisfaction among many
Palestinians as negotiations over full autonomy drag on.
But many Palestinians are not particularly impressed by "early
empowerment," especially the radicals who continue to carry out
terrorist attacks, but also moderates who are impatient for full
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resume talks next week in
Cairo on how to move the process forward.
German Anti-Semitic Attackers on Trial
By Dagmar Breitenbach (Bonn)
The trial of four young men charged in connection with the March
firebombing of a synagogue in the northern German city of Luebeck
continued Thursday. Three of the defendants have confessed to
having taken part in the attack.
Twenty-five-year-old Stephan Westphal confessed to the Schleswig
court Thursday he participated in the attack on the synagogue.
But he said he did not throw bottles filled with flammable
He is the third of the four defendants to confess to the March
attack on the Jewish place of worship, the first such incident in
Germany since the Third Reich. The other two confessed defendants
have also denied throwing gasoline bombs at the synagogue. The
four young men, aged between 20 and 25, are charged with arson and
five counts of attempted murder.
At the time of the attack, five people were inside the building.
They managed to escape unhurt.
Thousands of Germans held marches and vigils after the firebombing,
in protest of far-right violence which hit the country after
unification in 1990. Most of the violence has been directed
against foreigners, but there have also been numerous attacks
against Jews and handicapped people.
Peres Meets Pope at Vatican
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met Thursday with Pope John Paul
II in Rome. He extended an invitation to the pope to visit Israel.
Following their meeting, Peres said the pope would visit Jerusalem
once negotiations on its permanent status have been completed.
"I believe the pope and the Vatican are able to fulfil a major role
in the peace process through efforts to end all forms of hate
between the three religions," Peres said.
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