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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 7, 1994, V2, #219

Beersheva Mosaic Discovered

A rare mosaic in color, illustrating a dove with an olive leaf in its beak, has been discovered by the Antiquities Authority in a Byzantine church dating between the 4th and 7th centuries of the Common Era, in the center of Beersheva. The excavators have named it the Church of Peace.

Christopher Arrives in Israel

By Ron Pemstein (Jerusalem)

US Secretary of State Warren Christopher arrived in Israel Tuesday. He meets with Israeli leaders today and then travels to Gaza City to meet with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Syria's President, Hafez al-Assad, has said he prefers the status quo to doing what Israel wants. Israel's Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, says he is skeptical about the chances for a peace agreement with Syria.

American officials say these public signals from the two sides are telling the other party that the positions they are hearing in private discussions are unreasonable. However, Christopher arrived in Israel after talks in Damascus, saying the United States will continue trying to narrow their differences.

"I've just come from a four-and-a-half hour meeting with President Assad in Damascus. Our discussions, as usual, were very serious and detailed. We're continuing the hard work of narrowing the gaps on the issues between the parties. Both sides have made it clear to us that they're determined to work seriously in the quest for peace and at their request we will continue to help them as we seek to narrow the gaps and to try to achieve the goal of a comprehensive peace."

The secretary meets Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin this morning to brief him on the status of talks that concern Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights and the security arrangements and normalization that will follow.

Later today, he goes to Gaza City for talks with Arafat. US officials say the Palestinian authority is doing a better job of creating governing institutions and the US wants to support the process.

German President Visits Holocaust Memorial

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

German President Roman Herzog is in Israel on a two day visit that concludes today. He began the second visit ever by a German president to the Jewish state at Israel's memorial to the victims of Nazi atrocities. At the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem, he laid a large wreath adorned with German flags in memory of the Six-Million Jews killed in the Second World War.

Afterwards, the German president said he was horrified by what he saw, and has spent his life fighting to ensure such atrocities would not recur.

Former German President Richard von Weizsaecker visited Israel in 1985. Herzog's office said this was the first visit by the new president outside of Europe and showed Germany's special relations with Israel.

Joint Chiefs Head Views IDF Maneuvers

By Al Pessin (Tze'elim Training Range, Israel)

While Secretary of State Warren Christopher is renewing his Israel-Syria shuttle diplomacy, the senior US military officer is in israel discussing, among other things, the possible use of US troops as peacekeepers on the Golan Heights.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili, watched a live fire exercise by Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers racing across the desert attacking an imaginary, and unnamed, enemy. Earlier he had met with the prime minister.

The general acknowledged he discussed the possible deployment of US forces on the Golan Heights as part of an Israel-Syria peace agreement. But he would not give any details. "I think it's fair to say that it's much too early to talk about that. You know that the United States has always supported the peace process, and when the time comes to speak about specifics -- how to support that -- you can be sure that the United States will do so as it has in the past."

Shalikashvili said it would not be helpful for him to speculate about exactly what form that US support might take. But he praised the work of the multi-national force in the Sinai, which monitors the peace between Israel and Egypt. He visited those troops on Monday. "I think it has been extraordinarily successful in creating confidence on both sides. And from the very first day, 15, 16 years ago until today, I think it has
served its purpose and it has been a real contribution to the stability that now exists between Egypt and Israel."

Hizbullah Bombs IDF Convoy

By Edward Yeranian (Beirut)

One Israeli soldier has been killed and another seriously wounded after a bomb exploded beneath their convoy in southern Lebanon. Hizbullah guerrillas detonated an explosive device Tuesday afternoon just as an Israeli army patrol went by on the outskirts of their self-proclaimed security zone in southern Lebanon. Lebanese police report that several casualties occurred in the blast.

A spokesman for the Islamic fundamentalist Hizbullah militia told the French Press Agency in Beirut that a direct hit was scored against the patrol. The attack comes in the wake of a brief visit by Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Damascus.

Observers in Beirut believe Hizbullah timed the attack to protest Christopher's trip and the ongoing peace process. Hizbullah -- which is supported by Iran -- is opposed to any Arab-Israeli peace settlement.

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