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>Israel Faxx
>PD Jan. 19, 1995, V3, #13

British Police Arrest Palestinians

British police arrested five Palestinians on suspicion of involvement in July's double bombing of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish community building in London. The Palestinians, two women and three men, were arrested after undergoing extensive questioning. Scotland Yard has provided scant details about the five, only saying that all are Palestinians who have lived in the United Kingdom for a long time.

Rabin and Arafat Meet This Morning

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem) and Kim Reid (Cairo)

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, are scheduled to meet at the Israel-Gaza border today to try to advance efforts to reach agreement on implementing the next phase of their peace accord.

The key issues in these "second phase" talks are Palestinian elections and Israeli withdrawal from large portions of the West Bank. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have suspended their talks on those issues pending the outcome of Thursday's summit.

It is not known whether any breakthrough will be announced today. Israel is believed to be trying to convince the Palestinians to accept full withdrawal from some areas, partial withdrawal from others and the continuation of Israeli occupation in particularly tense areas with large numbers of Jewish settlers, such as Hebron. As an inducement, Israel is reported to be offering a rapid timetable and concessions on the size and powers of the council Palestinians will elect.

But another issue has been thrust to the forefront of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in recent weeks -- the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements, whose future is to be determined at a later stage of negotiations. Some Palestinian officials have said further talks should be suspended until settlement construction is halted. But the top Palestinian leaders have not said so, and Israeli leaders say they have already minimized government-funded building and cannot stop privately-funded projects.

A secret Israeli housing ministry report leaked to the press this week appears to contradict that position, indicating substantial government-funded construction of housing, with an increase planned for this year. The Cabinet is to discuss the issue at its weekly meeting on Sunday.

In a statement perhaps designed to ease some Palestinian concerns, Rabin said on Tuesday that several large settlements just east of Jerusalem (Maale Adumim, Betar and others) are not part of the city and that, therefore, limits on construction apply to them. He also said that unlike East Jerusalem, the government does not consider the suburban settlements to be under Israeli sovereignty, which seems to imply that their future is subject to the negotiations which are to start next year.

But analysts, and some officials, have said the government is concentrating its construction on such settlements near Israel's pre-1967 border, which it wants to keep even under a final settlement with the Palestinians.

Arafat, in Algiers Wednesday for talks with Algerian President Liamine Zeroual, harshly criticized Israel before his talks with Rabin today. Arafat's comments may make for a fiery meeting between the Israeli and PLO leaders.

Arafat minced no words on the subject of his partner in peace, Israel. In comments to the official Algerian news agency, Arafat accused Israel of building up new settlements inside and around Jerusalem. Israel's goal is "to reverse the demographic reality in favor of the Jews."

Palestinian and Israeli Arabs far outnumber Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas where Israeli officials insist they will continue to build.

Arafat also accused Israel of undermining the peace process with stalling tactics, though Israeli officials say much the same about Arafat.

Lubavich Student's Killer Gets Life

By Edie Smith (New York)

A Lebanese immigrant who fired at a van of Jewish students in New York City last year, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for slaying one of the passengers.

A judge has sentenced Rashid Baz to 141 years in prison, and recommended that he never be released on parole. Last March, baz opened fire on a van carrying a group of Chasidic Jewish students, killing one of them, 16-year-old Ari Halberstam. Another student spent months in a hospital with a bullet in his brain and remains impaired.

The attack against the students whose dress made them easily identifiable as Chasidic Jews, took place as the van crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, between lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. It came a few weeks after an American-born Jewish settler killed 30 Muslim worshipers in the Israeli West Bank town of Hebron.

Baz's lawyers argued that he was insane at the time of the shooting, and suffered from post traumatic stress as a result of his childhood experiences in war-torn Beirut. Last month a jury found Baz guilty of murder and attempted murder. Members of the Lubavich Jewish community including the parents of the deceased student called on the judge to impose the maximum possible sentence which is what Baz received. In a statement perhaps designed to ease some Palestinian concerns,


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