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                     Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
                        Feb. 27, 1995, V3, #39
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Israel Blockades Lebanese Coast

By Edward Yeranian (Beirut)

Tensions continue to mount in southern Lebanon following a decision by the Israeli navy to widen the scope of a 18-day-old naval blockade of Lebanese fishermen.

Israel stepped up its pressure against the Lebanese government by extending an 18-day blockade against Lebanese fishermen northward, to nine miles south of Beirut.

Lebanese officials say Israel is using the blockade to force them to curtail identity checks of people entering the Israeli-occupied security zone in southern Lebanon.

Nearly 18,000 fishermen have been prevented by the Israeli navy from going beyond one-kilometer from shore -- effectively prohibiting fishing.

Lebanon's national news agency also says Israeli gunboats have fired on Lebanese fishermen, attempting to enforce the blockade. The fishermen say several nets have been destroyed.

Fisherman Khalil Abed said he is torn between being stopped by the Israelis and hunger. He says he has not been to sea in more than two weeks.

The Lebanese president has appealed to the United States and Russia to help end the blockade.

Christopher Resumes Shuttle After Hospitalization

By Victor Beattie (Washington)

US Secretary of State Warren Christopher -- released from a Washington hospital after observation for a bleeding ulcer -- has been pronounced in excellent health . The secretary is to resume his full duties today including preparations for another Middle East trip:

The 69-year old Christopher was briefly hospitalized during a state visit to the Canadian capital of Ottawa Thursday where he was diagnosed with a small bleeding ulcer.

Christopher is expected to testify before Congress later this week and then prepare for a return trip to the Middle East either March 7 or 8. A State Department spokeswoman says his return is important to sustain the peace process. He was last in the region in December -- a visit that had no major impact on the negotiations.

The secretary hopes to revive the stalled Israeli-Syrian peace talks. He will also visit the Persian Gulf region to shore up support for continued international sanctions against Iraq.

130,000 Muslims Attend Ramadan Prayers at Temple Mount

Over 130,000 Muslim worshippers attended prayer services Friday at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to mark the last Friday in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Approximately 1,700 Israeli police were deployed in the Old City to provide security.

Israel gave special permission to Palestinians from the West Bank to attend services in Jerusalem despite the closure over the territories. Over one thousand Muslims attended prayer services at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. It was the largest turnout of Muslims worshipers since the site was reopened in November.

Former Iranian Official Claims Ron Arad Imprisoned in Iran

Israeli officials are looking into a statement by Iranian emigre Mancheuhr Moetamer that missing Israeli air force navigator Ron Arad is alive and being held in Iran. Moetamer, who claims to be a former senior Iranian intelligence official, made his statement during an interview with an Iranian radio station in Los Angeles.

Senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem say Moetamer's statements are "speculative." The officials said the remarks only cause sorrow for the families in Israel, adding that "we should be cautious about those who are spreading rumors." Israeli officials said they doubt Moetamar's statements and reiterated that there is no new information on Arad. Israel believes that Ron Arad is still alive and holds the government of Iran responsible for his safe return to Israel.

Arafat's Government Prints Booklet on Jewish Immigration to Palestine

The Palestinian Authority's Information Ministry has published a booklet entitled "Jewish Immigration to Palestine and its Devastating Effects on the Peace Process."

The existence of the seven-page English-language booklet was exposed by Likud MK Benny Begin last week during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.

The text is described as a direct assault on the very existence of the Land of Israel and repeats many of the old claims such as a plan by which "the original inhabitants will be uprooted from their land and replaced by new immigrants," Begin said. "This publication is in full accordance with the PLO's refusal to abolish its covenant, which openly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, and is also in line with Arafat's announcements since Oslo that he's committed to the 1974 PLO Phased Strategy Plan which also ultimately calls for the destruction of Israel," he told the Jerusalem Post.

The booklet uses the word "alarming" to describe the increase in Jewish immigration, and gives Jewish population figures according to native born and foreign born.

The pamphlet accuses the government of taking measures to force Soviet immigrants to settle in Israel rather than other countries. Its main theme is that immigration "cannot be accomplished without the confiscation of more Palestinian land."

It also says Israel continues "the Zionist expansionist goals via the confiscation of a massive number of Arab land in a move to evict Palestinian land owners from the territories in preparation for the absorption of more immigrants" and claims Israel has expropriated natural resources belonging to Palestinians.

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