Newsletter : 5fax0131.txt
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>PD Jan. 31, 1995, V3, #21
Islamic Jihad Says Bus Stop Attack Was Only the Beginning
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
The leader of the radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad told a
British newspaper in an exclusive interview that last week's
suicide bombing attack in Israel was its biggest military attack
ever inside the country -- and it will not be the last.
Fathi Shukaki said he did not order the attack but offered the
interviewer details of the logistical planning that went into it.
The British daily, The Independent, quotes Shukaki as saying "The
Islamic Jihad's operations are not against Jews or Israelis
outside" what he refers to as Palestine, but against military and
settlement targets inside.
He says the number of young boys willing to take on suicide
missions for the group has increased since the Palestinian uprising
against Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and
even more since the shaky start last year of the PLO's self-rule
deal with Israel.
Islamic Jihad was formed in the late 1970s by Shukaki and other
activists who split from the ranks of PLO leader Yasir Arafat's
mainstream Fatah faction. Islamic Jihad leaders were inspired by
the 1979 revolution in Iran that set up an Islamic state there.
Islamic Jihad figures on President Bill Clinton's list of 12
radical Middle East groups whose US assets will be frozen. The
US administration is adding its weight to efforts to curb
terrorist actions that threaten the Middle East peace process.
But Shukaki told The Independent his group has no assets in the
United States. The Jihad leader insists his group has no official
ties with Syria either.
Rabin: Peace Talks Depend on How Arafat Handles Terrorists
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin says he will base future peace
talks with the Palestinians more directly on what the Palestinian
leadership does to stop terrorism.
The prime minister told high school students and their parents on
Monday that he will continue peace talks with the Palestinians,
because, he said, stopping the talks would only increase terrorism.
But he also said he will base his decisions in the talks more
directly on what the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, does to stop
Arafat has frequently expressed understanding of Israel's security
concerns, and even said he would make it one of his top priorities.
But Israeli leaders say he has not actually done very much. An
Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday said
Israel wants the Palestinian police to conduct more intelligence
operations against the radicals and make arrests where appropriate.
The official says the decision not to do that comes from the top
Palestinian leadership, and that is what Israel wants changed.
Speaking in Gaza Monday Morning, Arafat criticized Israel's
decision Sunday to extend the closure of Palestinian territories.
Arafat called the extended closure a violation of the
Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Israel imposed the latest
closure a week ago, after Palestinian terrorists set off two
bombs at a bus stop north of Tel Aviv, killing 21 Israelis, most of
them young soldiers. Senior Israeli officials said at the time the
closure would last only for a few days, but the Cabinet extended
Rabin says he will lift the closure only when Arafat's Autonomy
Authority proves it will stand behind its commitment to fight
terrorism. Rabin spoke at a school in Jerusalem from which several
of last week's bombing victims had graduated. He said the closure
will continue, and when it is eased, fewer workers will be allowed
to cross from Gaza into Israel.
Syria is Stumbling Block to Continuing Talks
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israel's top negotiator with Syria says peace talks are in recess
because Syria has decided not to pursue them for now. The Israeli
negotiator, Itamar Rabinovich, had been expected to meet with his
Syrian counterpart in Washington last week, but the meeting never
The Syrian negotiator is reported to still be in Damascus.
Rabinovich told Israel Radio on Monday the talks are in what he
called a "timeout," by Syria's choice. And he says if the Syrians
expected Israel to respond by "courting" them with new offers, they
will be disappointed.
Another Israeli official, who requested anonymity, said
negotiations are being "paralyzed" by Syria. The official accused
Syria of trying to create a crisis in the talks in order to force
concessions from Israel.
The Israel-Syria talks have been deadlocked over Syria's demand
that Israel agree in advance to surrender all of the Golan Heights
seized in the 1967 war, and Israel's demand that Syria outline the
full scope of future peaceful relations.
Asked Monday whether those relations would have to include Syrian
agreement to stop harboring terrorist groups, Rabinovich said
Israel is not making such a demand. He indicated Syria would
likely not agree and he said Israel does not want to get into
diplomatic corners it can not get out of. But Rabinovich said he
will protest to the Syrians that the claim of responsibility for
last week's double suicide bombing near Tel Aviv came from the
Damascus office of the radical Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad.
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