Newsletter : 5fax0206.txt
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>PD Feb. 6, 1995, V3, #25
Palestinians Refused Entry to Israeli Jobs
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
Israel's Cabinet Sunday voted to ease the two-week closure on the
West Bank and Gaza Strip. But the government took no decision on
lifting the ban which keeps tens of thousands of Palestinians away
from jobs in Israel.
The Cabinet had been expected to approve a gradual lifting of the
strict closure, imposed since the suicide bombing near Netanya
which killed 21 Israelis. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers
in Gaza and the West Bank are being prevented from reaching their
jobs in Israel.
The Cabinet ended its discussion on the closure without making a
decision, although some restrictions will be eased for what is
termed "humanitarian reasons": doctors and teachers will be allowed
into Israel, as will some produce. Government ministers interviewed
after the meeting said the Cabinet is deeply divided over the
Palestinian leaders have repeatedly condemned the closure, calling
it collective punishment.
Israeli media reports say some security officers have recommended
against lifting the closure, calling it an effective way to
decrease friction between Israelis and Palestinians. Others warn
that a protracted closure serves radical Islamic groups by further
weakening the authority of Yasir Arafat, head of the Palestinian
Syria Blasts Four-Way Summit
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
Syria's official media is blasting last week's four-way summit and
Israel's position in the Middle East peace process. Syria did not
participate in the summit. Syrian-Israeli negotiations are still
stalled over the timing and extent of an Israeli withdrawal from
the Golan Heights.
The state-run Syria Times complained that Israeli Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin made no concessions to Arab demands to stop new
Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and to speed up the
release of Palestinian prisoners and the date for Palestinian
The newspaper said Rabin refused to talk about thorny issues
like lifting the closure of the West Bank and Gaza. An Israeli
official in Cairo says that was not the point of the summit.
Egypt did not invite Syrian President Hafez al Assad to the
summit to avoid embarrassing him as long as he refuses to talk
directly with Israeli leaders.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hosted the summit, which
included Rabin, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat and King Hussein of
Another Syrian newspaper, Al Thawra, suggests it may be pointless
to resume talks with Israel until it shows more flexibility. And
Syria criticizes Israeli suggestions that the peace process could
go on even without Syria. Syria has long been considered the key
to a comprehensive peace.
Eban Defends Peace Process
By Barbara Schoetzau (New York)
In a meeting with a group of New Yorkers interested in
international affairs--members of the National Committee on
American Foreign Policy, former Israeli statesman Abba Eban
strongly defended the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. The former
foreign minister called Thursday's summit between King Hussein of
Jordan, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat a meeting that was
unimaginable only a few years ago.
Eban, who has long been identified with the so-called "dove"
faction of Israel's governing Labor Party, has advocated an Israeli
withdrawal from most of its occupied territories for many years.
Eban said both sides must understand their mutual interests -- that
Israeli security and Palestinian freedom depend upon one another.
Addressing the issue of continuing violence against Israeli
citizens, including a recent spate of attacks against Israeli
soldiers, Eban said the terrorists will be victorious if they
succeed in silencing peace negotiations.
"All we can do now is plan some protection against the infamies of
those who have a double target. They want to do two things: They
want to usurp and humiliate the PLO in its situation of
self-government and, of course, they want to re-emphasize the
hostility to Israel. The answer to that, however, is not to do
what they want. It is the first law of anti-terrorism. Find out
what it is that the terrorists want and then refuse to do it. What
they want is to silence the peace dialogue. Refuse to silence it."
Eban said suffering and deaths would be even greater if the
process is derailed.
"Even the recent tragedies which have taken a hundred lives
must be seen against the background of the greater number of
those that would have been taken if the peace process had not
been enacted; because experience tells us what were the losses
and the grief and the tragedies involved in maintaining that
In order to achieve a long-term peace, Eban said the standard
of living of the Palestinians must improve.
"I think that is the central issue now because if there was more
contentment and more people earning their living in Gaza, fewer of
them would be available for these adventures. Life is so unlivable
in Gaza now. The fact is that none of the countries, not even the
United States, has really made good on the aid program because
Secretary Christopher had a fundraising meeting in Washington and
$2-billion were voted. I do not think any of it -- or very little
of it -- has reached Gaza or Jericho.
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