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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 15, 1994, V2, #225

Israeli Unemployment Rate drops

The number of unemployed Israelis seeking jobs dropped below 100,000 for the first time since 1991. According to statistics published by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the number of workers seeking jobs dropped 5.9 percent from last month.

Palestinian Talks to End Today

Kim Reid (Cairo) & Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are continuing talks in Cairo. Palestinian chief negotiator Nabil Shaath says the talks focus on how to maintain security when Israeli troops withdraw for elections, and whether that withdrawal will be temporary or permanent. The talks are expected to end Thursday afternoon.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators remain deadlocked over the issue of Israeli security and Palestinian elections.

Shaath says Israel must agree to a timetable that removes Israeli troops permanently from populated areas in Gaza and the West Bank, before Palestinian elections will be held.

But Israeli officials cite a number of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis in Israel and the territories. And they say they cannot withdraw without setting up new, more thorough security arrangements with the Palestinians.

The Israeli officials have suggested withdrawing for three days of elections, then redeploying while Israelis and Palestinians hammer out a new security protocol.

Israeli officials say if the Palestinians refuse the temporary troop withdrawal option, Palestinian elections could be delayed for up to a year during the security talks.

Despite this latest disagreement, both sides say they are optimistic about the talks.

As talks continued in Cairo, scattered violence continued in the areas under discussion. There were more incidents than usual on Wednesday.

Four Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian were injured in three incidents. In the most serious one, in the West Bank town of Ramallah, an angry crowd surrounded and attacked an Israeli soldier in his car. He had to be rescued by a hastily-dispatched army unit. The soldier was in fair condition at a nearby hospital.

In autonomous Gaza, at a checkpoint between an Israeli settlement and a Palestinian town known as a stronghold of the radicals, Khan Younis, a Palestinian stabbed a soldier, leaving him also in fair condition. The attacker was reportedly wounded and captured. And near another radical center in the West Bank, Qalqilya, two soldiers were slightly wounded when a roadside bomb exploded as they drove by.

No one claimed responsibility for the incidents, but Wednesday was the anniversary of the founding of the radical group Hamas, and Israeli security organizations were on alert against possible attacks. Such incidents make it more difficult for Israeli leaders to agree to withdraw troops from Palestinian areas, as required by the peace accord and demanded by Palestinian negotiators.

Rabin Leaves Japan for South Korea

By Kyoko Kaneko (Tokyo)

Before leaving Tokyo for an official trip to South Korea Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin expressed concern about the possibility of North Korea's missile technology being exported to Syria and Iran.

Rabin says North Korea may provide technology for nuclear weapons and missiles to Iran and Syria. The Israeli leader told a news conference in Tokyo that North Korea had already exported Scud missiles and other military equipments to both countries.

"It is true North Korea has supplied by now "Disconcy" missiles from their own production. It is a ground-to-ground missile for 500 kilometers (300 miles), to Syria and to Iran, not only the missiles and the launchers, but also the capabilities and facilities to produce them today in Syria and in Iran. In addition, Iran, is ready to spend a lot of money, to develop in North Korea a longer range missile, the 'Nordong.'"

Rabin said Iran told North Korea it wants missiles with a range of 800 miles, long enough to reach Israeli targets from Iran.

The prime minister also said an international effort is needed to end poverty in the Middle East because poverty helps create terrorism. He urged Japan to provide financial help to Arab nations that are taking part in the peace process.

Earlier in the day, Rabin told Japanese business leaders he hopes they will expand business ties with Israel without fear of the Arab boycott. For decades, Japan maintained only limited business ties with Israel because of Japan's heavy dependence on crude oil from Arab nations.

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