Newsletter : 5fax0118.txt
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>Jan. 18, 1995, V3, #12
Clinton Refuses to Move Embassy to Jerusalem
By David Gollust (State Department)
The Clinton Administration Tuesday delivered an implicit rebuff
to House Speaker Newt Gingrich's call to move the US Embassy in
Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The status of the embassy has
been a US domestic political issue for some time.
While not responding directly to Gingrich himself, the
administration is making it clear it is not about to take any
action on the sensitive issue of Jerusalem that could upset the
Middle East peace process.
Comments here followed interviews with Israeli media over the
past weekend in which Gingrich voiced support for moving the
US Embassy -- now located in Central Tel Aviv -- to Jerusalem.
There have been frequent calls over the years from supporters of
Israel in Congress to relocate the embassy. But the remarks by
Gingrich -- with his new prominence as house speaker -- drew
immediate criticism from several Arab countries and Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat.
The United States does not recognize Israel's claim to
Jerusalem as its capital and like most other countries having
relations with the Jewish state, it has maintained its embassy
in Tel Aviv, the country's commercial hub. Briefing reporters,
State Department spokeswoman Christine Shelly's response to
Gingrich was indirect, but clear:
"We've certainly seen the remarks. We're aware of them. It's a
very sensitive issue as you know. And the president has made it
very clear that we will not undertake any action that could
complicate the peace negotiations between the parties."
The US position on Jerusalem's ultimate status has long been
that it is a matter to be determined by Israel and its Arab
negotiating partners. The issue of moving the embassy is likely
to surface again in the new Congress -- since one of the most
vocal proponents of relocating it to Jerusalem is Sen. Jesse
Helms, now the chairman of the influential Senate Foreign
Arafat's Fatah Faction Vows New 'Peaceful' Intifada
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli troops broke up a demonstration by Palestinians near the
West Bank town of Ramallah on Tuesday and roughed up some senior
Palestinian officials in the process. The protest was one of a
series in several parts of the Israeli-occupied territories
against the expansion of Jewish settlements.
The soldiers fired rubber bullets and threw tear gas canisters
and stun grenades. The protesters threw stones. Two
Palestinians were reported wounded and many others were roughed
up, including Ahmed Tibi, a senior adviser to the Palestinian
leader, Yasir Arafat.
An official of Arafat's Fatah faction told Israel Radio this
is the beginning of a new intifada, or uprising, focused on the
settlements. But the official, Marwan Barghouthi, said this
uprising will be peaceful, unlike the seven years of violent
uprising which ended in 1993.
Palestinian officials had declared Tuesday "National
Anti-Settlement Day" and also held protests outside settlements
near the West Bank town, Hebron, and in a rural area 15 miles
east of Tel Aviv. Several hundred people participated in each.
The protest campaign comes amid news reports of increased plans
for building in and around Israeli settlements in the occupied
territories -- although the government says no new settlements
will be authorized.
Israeli newspapers say the housing minister will recommend nearly
doubling the number of planned housing units in the occupied
territories, mostly in or near East Jerusalem. The Cabinet is
scheduled to discuss the settlements issue on Sunday.
Some Palestinian leaders say settlement construction threatens
the peace process. But Israeli leaders say the settlement
building did not prevent the process from starting, and has
not stopped it so far. And they believe the process will
continue, along with the settlements controversy. They also
point out that most of the building in and near the settlements
is being done privately, without any government money.
The future of the settlements is to be discussed in the third
phase of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, scheduled to begin by
the end of next year. Intensive negotiations are now under way
on the second phase. Many observers believe both sides are
trying to assert control over as much territory as possible -- by
building or planting crops -- before the final borders are drawn
between the Israeli and Palestinian areas.
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