Newsletter : 4fax1221.txt
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>PD Dec. 21, 1994, V2, #229
IDF Threatens Hizbullah with Retaliation
By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)
One day after two Israeli soldiers and two Lebanese fighters were
killed in a clash in southern Lebanon, Israel is warning it may
take action against pro-Iranian Hizbullah guerrillas there.
The fighting between Israeli troops and Hizbullah that claimed two
lives on each side on Monday was just the latest in an ongoing
Israeli Cabinet Minister Yossi Sarid described the situation as a
war of attrition. Hizbullah has vowed to continued attacking the
Israelis to drive them out of the border strip they patrol in
Sarid hinted at possible Israeli military action in Lebanon. He
said Israel would feel free to take what he called an initiative
without any restrictions.
Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Gur said the guerrillas may have
violated the terms of a cease-fire with Israel. If that were the
case, he said, Israel would not be bound to the 1993 agreement.
Peres/Arafat Meet Today
By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO leader Yasir Arafat
are due to meet today (Wednesday) to discuss redeployment of
Israeli troops in the West Bank.
A new compromise proposal has been raised to break the deadlock
between Israel and the Palestinians over Israeli withdrawal from
Palestinian areas of the West Bank.
Palestinian official Faisal al-Husseini proposes that Israel begin by
withdrawing its troops from the towns of Jenin and Bethlehem.
The parties would agree on a timetable for a pullout from other
Under the terms of the 15-month-old Israeli/Palestinian peace deal,
the Israeli pullout, followed by Palestinian elections, should have
been completed by July 13th.
But following a series of attacks on Israelis, Israel has told
the Palestinians that it would not complete the withdrawal until
the safety of Israelis is guaranteed.
The Palestinians are eager for this phase of the agreement to be
completed, saying they cannot vote under the barrels of Israel
guns. And the new Palestinian self-rule authority badly needs
the people's vote to gain legitimacy.
U.S. Blamed for Weapons Proliferation
By Lauri Neff (Washington)
US experts say proliferation of weapons continues to be a
significant problem in the Middle East despite progress in
regional peace efforts. Instability in the Persian Gulf is
apparently the main reason for their concern.
The United States says multilateral Middle East peace talks have
produced a number of confidence building arms control measures.
The State Department's Frederick Axelguard notes the participants
agreed to notify each other of certain military activities.
"Military activities in the field involving movements of troops in
excess of 4,000 men would be notified. (One) hundred and 10, (one)
hundred and 11 tanks was also adopted as a threshold figure --
what we have basically agreed is, on a multilateral basis, to begin
The parties have also agreed to set up a regional security center
in Jordan to allow discussion of such issues as security and ways
to ensure that agreements are honored.
Geoffrey Kemp is a senior expert on Middle East arms control. He
says despite recent advances in diplomacy, regional weapons sales
have surged. Kemp says this is largely due to insecurity among
Gulf Arab states. He says they are alarmed by Iranian attempts to
bolster its arsenal and worry what will happen if and when UN
sanctions against Baghdad are lifted.
"The question is then, is what constraints, if any, will there be
on Iraq concerning the modernization and rebuilding of its
conventional forces. And my judgment is, is that it will be
extremely difficult to prevent Iraq from modernizing and rebuilding
its conventional forces and that these, of course, are the primary
instruments with which Saddam Hussein can intimidate the region."
Kemp says US military strategy has also contributed to a recent
military buildup in Gulf states. "From a strictly military point of
view it makes sense to provide these countries with American
equipment as we saw during the Gulf war. And furthermore I don't
need to stress the economic advantages to selling US equipment.
And we are by far the largest supplier, which, of course, makes our
calls for conventional arms control extremely hollow."
A new factor adding to concerns about Middle East arms control is
the recent proliferation of nuclear smuggling in Eastern Europe.
Kemp says that makes it much easier for countries such as Iran to
get nuclear arms technology.
Also significant for regional arms control is the future of the
nuclear non-proliferation treaty, up for an extension next year.
Egypt and Iran have already begun debate against the treaty in
its current state. And then there is Israel, which is believed
to have nuclear weapons and has not signed the accord. Israel
contends a debate on regional nuclear arms control is meaningless
when the two states most likely to get such weapons -- Iran and
Iraq -- are not in on the discussions.
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