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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 16, 1994, V2, #226

Dispute over holy sites in jerusalem

Jordan's King Hussein walked out of a conference of Muslim countries in Casablanca over a dispute with the PLO regarding responsibility for Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Hussein reportedly left Morocco after participants postponed considering a document that included a provision about Jordan's role in managing Muslim affairs in Jerusalem.

Palestinian Peace Talks Deadlocked

By Kim Reid (Cairo)

Israel and PLO negotiators were tight-lipped about details at the end of two days of talks in Cairo. Negotiators would say only that PLO Chief Yasir Arafat will meet Israeli leaders face-to-face to discuss security issues, before the Cairo talks can resume. The peace talks have been deadlocked over security issues.

Palestinians insist on a permanent Israeli troop withdrawal from populated areas before Palestinian elections. Israelis have advanced the idea of a temporary withdrawal that would be made permanent only after Israel and the PLO draft a new security protocol to help stop militant terrorism.

An Israeli official in Cairo says Israel presented no new ideas at this round of talks, but the delegation led by Uri Savir clarified the proposal for Israeli troop movement. The official says troops would leave populated areas in the West Bank during Palestinian elections, but would redeploy to potential West Bank trouble spots afterward.

Rabin Meets with South Korean President

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met Thursday with South Korean President Kim Young Sam. Rabin, currently on a four-day visit to South Korea, is the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit the country.

North Korean missile sales to Iran and Syria were reportedly the main topic in talks between the two leaders, which also included discussions on economic and security matters. Speaking in Seoul, Rabin said North Korea is developing, with aid from Iran, a surface-to-surface missile with a range of about 830 miles.

"North Korea also supplies Scud missiles to Iran and Syria," said Rabin, adding that one of the two Middle Eastern states already has the capability to produce launchers for the missiles.

The Prime Minster expressed his hope that South Korea and the United States will be able to pressure North Korea to curb its military sales to the Middle East.

Davar: Hamas Funds Arrive Via Iran's Embassy in Amman

A U.S. Congressional Middle East researcher, Kenneth Katzman, says most of the funding for Hamas activities in the territories arrives from Teheran via its Jordan and also from the Iranian-backed Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.He said Iran's ambassador in Amman coordinates the transfer of funds to Hamas.

The researcher said he believes the United States is able to decrease, and even halt, Iranian financing for the Hamas. The General Security Service has warned of an expansion and strengthening of Hamas activities in Jerusalem. More that 3,000 Hamas activists are now operating in Jerusalem, as compared to 220 three years ago.

Ethiopian Genocide Trial Starts

By Scott Stearns (Addis Abada)

War crimes trials opened in Ethiopia this week. Several thousand people will be charged with murder, torture and crimes against humanity committed during the rule of Mengistu Hailie Miriam.

The crimes may be old but Ethiopia is just beginning to come to grips with the Red Terror of the 1970s. In court Thursday Morning, eight men who once served on Mengistu's ruling council, stood silently as the charges were read.

Thirty-nine people shot dead in prison -- their bodies scattered in nearby fields. Thirty people strangled in police custody. Twenty-eight people taken from prison in the night -- their corpses dumped on the streets of Addis Ababa. Six people detained without charge, tortured and finally executed for not attending weekly discussion groups on Marxism.

In all, 211 counts of aggravated homicide, unlawful arrest and abuse of power. The accusers say the result of the abuses was a systematic elimination of those the Mengistu government felt were counter-revolutionaries. When the names of all the victims were read after two and a half days, the justice who finished the list said "we are through -- finally."

But the process has just begun. About 3,000 suspects have been detained since investigations began in 1991. It was not until this week that the first defendants were formally charged. Observers here estimate the entire process could last as long as six years. Prosecuting those believed responsible for the violence has been a priority for the transitional government that drove Mengistu from power. But Mengistu himself has been granted political asylum in Zimbabwe, and the three remaining members of his ruling council are living in the Italian embassy. All four are being tried in abstentia.

Former Prime Minister Fikre Selssie Wagderes, denounced the charges against him. He said the trial violated his human rights. "I have been in prison for more than three years," he said. "I was not arrested by the police but by certain armed people. I was not brought to court within 48 hours as the law demands. I am a political prisoner."

Defense attorneys are likely to face an uphill battle in this case.

The Mengistu regime may have been brutal, but it was meticulous in its record-keeping. The logistics of torture appear in volumes of documents seized by the transitional government.

Execution orders in triplicate, films of torture and the testimony of more than 2,000 witnesses will be presented as evidence along with forensic results from dozens of mass graves.

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