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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Feb. 22, 1995, V3, #36
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Palestinians Ready World PR Campaign

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat met for more than five hours Tuesday night in Cairo with eight members of the 18-member PLO Executive Committee to set a new strategy for the peace talks. The group will issue a formal statement of objectives later Wednesday morning after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The PLO Executive Committee is ready to launch a public relations campaign to win international solidarity for its cause. Palestinians have been frustrated by what they see as Israeli refusal to live up to its commitments under the 1993 Palestinian autonomy plan. And they want the international community to put pressure on Israel to comply.

Executive Committee member Mohammed Zuhdi Nashishibi says the PLO leadership will visit capitals in the Middle East, Europe, the United States and Asia in the next few weeks to restate the objectives of the peace process. "When we put our case and it is very clear to the world that the Israelis are causing the stagnation and bringing the negotiations to deadlock and we explain ourselves very clearly to the international community, we get their solidarity."

Israel Meets Secretly with Iran

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

Israeli security sources have denied there has been a breakthrough in the search for an Israeli air force navigator who has been missing since his plane went down over Lebanon in 1986. They were responding to a report Tuesday in a German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine, that Israel and Iran are in advanced stages of negotiation for the release of the flyer, Ron Arad.

The author of the report, the editor of the newspaper's Middle East desk, was interviewed Tuesday on Israel Radio. The editor, Udo Ulf-Kotte, said Israeli and Iranian diplomats sit in separate rooms in the Bonn office of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He said they do not speak directly to each other, but the head of German intelligence mediates between them. He added that the wife of the Israeli flyer, Ron Arad, has known about this.

The German report says the Iranians are demanding the release of three men being held in Israeli prisons -- Sheikh Abdel Kareem Obeid, a leader of the pro-Iranian Hizbullah in Lebanon who was kidnapped by Israeli commandos in 1989; Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a founder of the Islamic fundamentalist movement Hamas; and the former security chief of Lebanon's Shiite Muslim movement, Amal Mustafa Dirani, who was kidnapped by Israel in Lebanon last year.

Israel believes that Mustafa Dirani captured Ron Arad in 1986 and turned him over to an Iranian-supported group in Lebanon for several hundred-thousand dollars. German journalist Ulf-Kotte insists that his sources for the story are reliable. He says he knew about the negotiations for six months but did not report them because he did not want to endanger Ron Arad's life.

"But last week I got the green light from somebody who is in the talks and he said they are very close to the release of Ron Arad and it will not endanger his life if we're going to report that."

Israeli security sources say there is no breakthrough in the Ron Arad affair, and that there has been no recent sign indicating that he is alive. Although Israel has long held Iran responsible for Ron Arad's continued detention. Iran has always publicly denied it is holding him.

Klarsfeld Wants French Nazi Sympathizer Barred From U.S.

By Chris Simkins (New York)

Serge Klarsfeld, a well-known French Nazi hunter, called on US government officials Tuesday to deny entry into the United States to a wealthy French businessman Andre Bettencourt. Klarsfeld, a long-time investigator of Nazi war criminals and collaborators, is calling on the US Justice Department to look into the past of the French businessman. At a news conference in New York, Klarsfeld accused Bettencourt of being a Nazi Collaborator during the German Occupation of France in the 1940s.

Klarsfeld said last October he uncovered articles written by Bettencourt in a Nazi World War II propaganda newspaper in which he denounced Jews. "He has to take the responsibility for what he wrote. And he is not when he shows himself in public and that is why we are angry. During the war, Mr. Bettencourt claimed that he was a member of the Resistance. But he was a man who wrote very bad anti-Jewish propaganda."

Bettencourt, considered one of the wealthiest men in France, amassed his fortune by running L'Oreal International, the world's largest cosmetics company. Beth Gilinsky, president of the Jewish Action Alliance, says Bettencourt along with other top L'Oreal officials secretly complied with the Arab boycott against Israel in 1989.

The Alliance called on L'Oreal Cosmetics to acknowledge its past involvement with the Arab boycott and compensate the Jewish people for any economic hardship suffered by the boycott. The group also wants L'Oreal to present evidence that it no longer engages in discriminatory practices against Jewish people and Israel.

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