Newsletter : 4fax1228.txt
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>PD Dec. 28, 1994, V2, #233
Tariffs will be removed from U.S. Imports
Beginning next week, tariffs on all imports from the United
States will be removed, Israel Radio reported. This step completes
the creation of a free-trade zone between the U.S. and Israel as
agreed upon in a trade accord signed nearly 10 years ago. All U.S.
imports, including agricultural products, will be tariff-free.
Rabin Returns From Oman Trip
By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has returned to Israel after
a ground-breaking visit to the Gulf state of Oman Monday. It was
the first visit by an Israeli leader to an Arab state in the Gulf.
None of the Gulf Arab states have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Just three months ago six Gulf states, including Oman, took a first
step towards changing this, when they lifted a 46-year boycott on
companies doing business with the Jewish state.
Several Israeli officials have visited the Gulf in recent months
in initial contacts. Rabin's spokesman said the prime minister met
Oman's leader Sultan Qaboos Bin Said at his palace in Muscat.
The spokesman said the leaders discussed ways to achieve
comprehensive peace in the Middle East. He said Rabin praised the
sultan for his courage in becoming the first Gulf leader to host an
Israeli prime minister.
Israeli and Arab Demonstrators Arrested
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
Israeli soldiers and police Tuesday forcibly removed Palestinian
demonstrators and Israeli sympathizers protesting the expansion of
a Jewish settlement on the West Bank. At least 50 demonstrators
were arrested and several injured by soldiers.
Witnesses say security forces detained the demonstrators as they
linked arms on the disputed land, where bulldozers were about to
begin digging to prepare for new housing units. Israeli residents
of the Jewish settlement of Efrat, near Bethlehem, and residents of
the adjoining Arab village of El Khader both claim the same parcel.
Efrat intends to build 500 housing units on land just south of
Bethlehem. Efrat officials say they were given the land by the
Israeli government in 1983, a claim Israeli military authorities
in the West Bank have so far upheld.
The authorities issued an eviction notice to residents of the
village of El Khader who, along with Israeli peace activists,
tried physically to block the bulldozers.
Efrat Town Councillor Menahem Spitz insists the settlement has
the legal right to expand. "We've gotten authorization to continue
the settlements of Efrat and we'd like to work to proceed without
any violence or noise."
The confrontation has been building since last week, when villagers
planted olive trees on the disputed land. On Tuesday security
forces twice evicted protestors by force, in the process knocking
down a minister of the Palestinian self-rule authority in Gaza,
Saeb Erekat. "I was trying to stop the soldiers from beating the
kids and then I was beaten up and thrown to the ground, and
somebody smashed my back."
An Israeli police official says charges will be brought against
Erekat for reportedly kicking a soldier. Erekat called the site
the graveyard of the peace process. The Palestine Liberation
Organization has repeatedly threatened to suspend autonomy
negotiations with Israel if the government goes ahead with plans to
construct the units. Two Israeli cabinet ministers have made public
statements against the construction.
Hussein Salah, a resident of El Khader, says Palestinians in the
area are determined to continue their fight over the disputed
land. "We'll stay here even one year, we will stay here and
struggle to keep our land."
Bulldozers went back to work to prepare the site for the
construction, after all the protestors had been removed.
Knesset Bans Palestinian Political Activity in Jerusalem
The Knesset passed a measure banning Palestinian political
activity in Jerusalem, The law is part of a larger bill concerning
the implementation of the Gaza-Jericho agreement.
The measure passed Monday explicitly bans activity by "the
Palestinian Authority and other Palestinians." Fifty-six Knesset
members voted for the law, six opposed it and 32 abstained.
Police Minister Moshe Shahal said the police have uncovered many
violations by the Palestinian Authority pertaining to political
activity in Jerusalem.
82,000 Immigrants Arrive in Israel in '94
Immigration was six percent greater in 1994 than in the
previous year, Davar reported. Eighty two thousand immigrants
arrived in Israel this year, 83 percent of them from the former
The Ministry of Immigration and Absorption says 635,000 immigrants
have arrived in Israel since the latest wave of immigration began
at the end of 1989. Twenty-four percent of the new immigrants are
under the age of 18, 39 percent are aged 19-44, 21.5 percent are
aged 45-64, and 15.5 percent are aged 65 and above.
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