Newsletter : 5fax0202.txt
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>PD Feb. 2, 1995, V3, #23
Cairo Summit Today Brings Israelis and Arabs Together
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is hosting a four-way summit today
with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Jordan's King Hussein
and PLO leader Yasir Arafat. The stated aim of the meeting is to
get the stalled Middle East peace process back on track. Egypt is
concerned that violence could derail peace efforts in part prompted
the unprecedented get-together.
Egypt was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel
back in 1979. It was a daring act that left Egypt in a lonely
position in the Arab world for many years.
Now Egypt's experience is bringing weight to the peace process.
Mubarak is actively mediating between the Arab partners of the
peace process and Israel, nudging both sides to show more
For now, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks about expanding self-rule
in the West Bank are snagged over security issues, the pullout of
Israeli troops from Palestinian communities and the framework for
Arafat wants Israel to follow through with its promise to release
thousands of Palestinian prisoners still detained in Israeli jails.
Arafat is also furious with Israeli plans for new settlements
there. The Palestinians insist the decision defies the principles
of the autonomy deal signed a year and a half ago.
The surge of violence on both sides has also marred the peace talks
and fueled criticism of the whole deal. More than 100 Palestinians
have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops since the 1993
signing on the White House lawn. Scores of Israelis have also
died. The most recent suicide bombing by a radical Muslim two
weeks ago killed 21 Israelis.
Israel has sealed off the West Bank and Gaza since the tragedy,
keeping tens of thousands of Palestinians from their jobs in
Israel. Arafat wants that ban lifted, a gesture PLO officials
suggest Rabin could make during the Cairo summit.
Both Arafat and Rabin need some confidence-building measures to
boost their support at home. Rabin's popularity has dropped in the
polls. Palestinian opponents of the peace deal are gaining ground
as frustrated residents of Gaza and Jericho still wait for the
elusive benefits of peace.
Syria's leader Hafez al-Assad will not attend the Cairo summit.
He was not invited because Egypt does not want to put him in
an embarrassing position. Syria has refused direct negotiations
with Israel and prefers to deal with their problems through US
mediators and shuttle diplomacy. Negotiations there are stuck on
the timing and extent of an Israeli withdrawal from the strategic
Only Jordan seems to have had relatively trouble-free dealings
with Israel that produced a peace treaty last October. But there
are still a few problems to be worked out with some aspects of
Last week, King Hussein patched up strained relations with Mubarak
and then with Arafat. King Hussein's participation in the Cairo
summit will involve him more directly in collective efforts to cut
through the problems that are stalling the other tracks of the
Officials in Cairo, Jerusalem and Gaza are playing down prospects
of any major breakthrough in the summit meeting. But Israeli
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres says it is the meeting itself that
is a milestone, putting Israelis and Arabs on the same side to
forge what he calls a real coalition for peace.
Anti-Hate U.S. Campaign Launched
By Bryn Olafsdottir (New York)
An international human rights organization launched an anti-hate
campaign in the United States Wednesday to fight what it calls an
alarming increase in hate crimes, racism and anti-Semitism.
Officials with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization
dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust when Six
Million Jews died during World War 2, say the campaign is aimed at
promoting racial, ethnic and religious tolerance.
Rhonda Barad, the person behind the campaign, says intolerance of
racial and religious differences is rising. She says 250 to 300
organized hate groups are currently operating in the United States.
Some of them are even using the computer information highway, the
internet, to distribute their messages.
In 1993, the FBI reported more than 7,600 hate-motivated crimes,
including 20 murders. Officials with the Wiesenthal Center say
bigotry and prejudice have been spreading during the past 10 years.
They are specifically worried that college campuses seem to have
turned into a battleground, dividing students along racial and
The message on the new anti-hate campaign posters, the Wiesenthal
Center unveiled, reads: "Hate, Racism, Anti-Semitism. They survive
when good people look the other way."
"By daring people not to look the other way, we hope to raise
awareness across the country about hate, racism and anti-Semitism.
Only by confronting all forms of intolerance, can we begin to
foster understanding and respect."
This is the second year that the Wiesenthal Center is organizing
a campaign against indifference to bigotry. The anti-hate posters
will appear for two months in trains and buses in major cities
across the US.
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