Newsletter : 4fax1205.txt
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>PD Dec. 5, 1994, V2, #217
West Bank/Gaza Jewish Population Increases
The number of Jews living in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District
grew by 7,000 in 1993, despite a shift away from government support for
settlements, the Central Bureau of Statistics has reported.
Journalists Kept Away From White House Rabbinical
By John Pitman (Washington)
A group of American rabbis protesting US policy toward
Bosnia-Herzegovina said more should be done to protect the Bosnian
Muslims. About 30 people joined 16 rabbis Friday in front of the
White House. They held posters that said "Never Again" and "Help
Bosnia Now"; and chanted slogans calling on President Clinton to
help end the United Nations arms embargo on the Muslim government
A strong contingent of Secret Service agents and US Park Police
officers surrounded the demonstrators, keeping tourists and
journalists away. By law, demonstrators are allowed 15 minutes
in direct view of the White House, after which they must move on,
or face arrest.
In an act of civil disobedience, the rabbis refused to move when
their time was up. All 16 rabbis were arrested by the Park Police,
and charged with demonstrating without a permit.
The rabbis say the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- in which more
than 250,000 people have been reported killed -- is strikingly
similar to the Holocaust of World War II, in which six million Jews
were killed by the Nazis.
Norman Shore, a Hebrew teacher who marched with the rabbis, says
the protest is not meant to compare the two events as identical.
However, he says it is important that people be reminded of the
promise made after World War II that genocide never be allowed to
"I don't think anyone is comfortable with saying one tragedy is
exactly parallel to the other, that it is the second Holocaust.
But, sure, it raises a lot of the same issues in some sense of
genocide, of a people being destroyed. I think sort of, what is
driving a lot of the people is what happened to the Jews in the
Holocaust and then seeing parallel and similar things happening,
and (they feel they are) just sort of standing by and watching."
Chasidic Teen's Killer Convicted
By Chris Simkins (New York)
A New York City jury convicted Rashad Baz, a Lebanese national, of
murder and attempted murder in the shooting of four Jewish
students last March. The jury found 28-year-old Baz, an immigrant
from Lebanon, guilty of murder and attempted murder for the
shooting attack on a van full of Chasidic students.
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Halberstam was killed and four of his
classmates were wounded as their van crossed New York's Brooklyn
Bridge. During the trial, several witnesses testified Baz
repeatedly shot at the van using two semi-automatic pistols.
During the trial, Baz's lawyers claimed that at the time of the
shooting he was insane. They argued Baz suffered from post
traumatic stress, a disorder resulting from his childhood
experiences in war-torn Beirut.
Baz will be sentenced on Jan. 18. He could be sentenced to life in
prison without a chance for parole.
Palestinian Autonomy Talks Continue
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet in Cairo today for talks
on implementing the next stage of their peace agreement.
The Declaration of Principles signed in Washington 15 months ago
attempts to work through a series of difficult issues by creating
stages. The first stage -- full autonomy for Gaza and Jericho --
has already been implemented. Israeli and Palestinian officials
also added what some call a mini-stage, known as "early
empowerment," which has also been implemented. In that stage,
Israel gave the Palestinian Autonomy Authority responsibility for
education, welfare, health care, taxation and tourism in the West
Bank, even though Israel still occupies the region.
Now the time has come for the next full stage of the peace accord
-- negotiation of an interim agreement, under which the
Palestinians will have full autonomy throughout the West Bank --
except in Israeli settlements. The idea of this interim stage of
autonomy is to put off, for two more years, discussion of the most
difficult issues, including the future of Jerusalem and of the
But more and more Israelis and Palestinians are suggesting that
the interim stage be skipped and negotiations started now toward
a final settlement. From the Israeli side, the argument, advanced
most prominently by Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, is that
leaving Israeli settlements deep in Palestinian-controlled
territory is too dangerous. Looking at the map, many senior
Israeli military officers say some of the settlements are virtually
Israel faces a dilemma. It is not required to remove any
settlements in the interim stage, but it must remove its troops
from Palestinian population centers, where some settlers live.
Officials say both the Israelis and the Palestinians who want
to skip the interim stage are likely to be disappointed. Senior
leaders on both sides are committed to follow the process they
created, whatever the problems. And they point out that there is
a reason they created this awkward, difficult interim stage --
the final settlement issues are even more difficult.
Talks on those issues could take years, and officials say they
must deliver more political satisfaction and economic development
to the Palestinians, and more security to the Israelis, as soon
as possible. Only then, officials say, is there any chance there
would be enough support for peace among both Israelis and
Palestinians to deal effectively with the most sensitive issues
which lie ahead.
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