Newsletter : 5fax0306.txt
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Employment Rose 8.1 Percent in '94
The average monthly salary in Israel rose in December to 4,298
New Israeli Shekels (approximately $1,400), During 1994, wages in
the public services sector rose 10 percent while salaries in the
industrial sector fell by one percent.
Rabin: Syrian Negotiations Continuing
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israel's prime minister has indicated that Israel's position in
stalled peace talks with Syria has not changed, as US Secretary
of State Warren Christopher prepares for another shuttle mission to
try to get those talks moving again.
Prime Minister Rabin says Israel is willing to make a small
withdrawal along the cease-fire line on the Golan Heights in
return for full peace with Syria, and would consider further
withdrawals only after two or three years of peaceful coexistence.
Syrian leaders rejected that approach months ago. They want a
guaranteed full withdrawal over a short period of time, in return
for diplomatic relations. The disagreement has resulted in several
months of stalemate.
There was a report last week that the two sides had made
substantial progress in secret contacts through US mediators. But
Israel strongly denied the report.
Christopher is expected to arrive in Israel on Thursday, and then
to travel to Syria -- a shuttle Israeli officials say could be
critical in determining whether there is an Israel-Syria peace
agreement signed this year. Israeli officials say they will not
be able to make the difficult compromises necessary for peace once
they begin next year's election campaign.
Meanwhile, Israeli intelligence officials told the Cabinet on
Sunday they believe Syria wants to make peace, but is in no hurry
to do so.
Yacobi to UN. Settlements are Not Your Business
By Daud Majlis (Washington)
Israel's UN ambassador says settlements in the occupied territories
are not a matter for the United Nations Security Council to
resolve. Gad Yacobi, said Israel's settlements policy is not a main
obstacle to progress in the peace process in the Middle East. And
that policy, he said, has been an evolving one.
"I think that unfortunately the main obstacle is the terror which
(has) created a lot of resentment in Israeli public opinion
following the murders of 110 Israelis by terrorists -- mainly by
Hamas and Islamic Jihad people -- since the Declaration of
Principles was signed."
The ambassador was speaking of a declaration signed in Cairo two
and one half years ago between representatives of Israel and the
Palestine Liberation Organization.
Yacobi also said terrorism cannot be excused because of the slow
pace of the peace process. He said that since the Cairo
declaration, Israeli Defense Forces have left the Gaza Strip and
Jericho area, the PLO authority has been formed and nearly 15,000
policemen are now serving under that authority.
Yacobi said the settlement policy had changed "dramatically" under
the present Israeli government and no new settlement has been
established in the West Bank in the last two and a half years. He
also said no Israeli government resources have been allocated to
"No confiscation of land was carried out since then for building
new settlements. The only area that we are still building and will
continue to do it are the houses, wooded parks and developments
including infrastructure in the metropolitan area of Jerusalem as
the Palestinians are doing, as the Arabs are doing. They are
building houses and we are building houses. It is their right and
it is our right as well."
Naser al-Qodwa, PLO representative at the United Nations, said the
Israeli ambassador's remarks were nothing new and a Security
Council debate on settlements is justified.
"What is important is that there are new units being built and
there is an increase in settlement activities. Whole units are
added to the existing settlements which means there are more
settlers or occupiers on the Palestinian land. This is creating
more complications and further aggravating the situation."
Barak Retires from IDF; Speculation He May Join Government
Former IDF Chief of Staff Ehud Barak formally retired from the
Israel Defense Forces last week. Barak completed his term as Chief
of Staff two months ago, and chose to cut short the traditional
year of paid leave accorded to high ranking officers preparing to
leave the IDF.
Senior Labor party officials said Barak's decision to opt for early
retirement shows he has decided to enter the political arena. The
officials believe Barak will be appointed to a ministerial post in
the current Labor-led Government. By law, officers retiring from
the IDF must wait 100 days before they can be appointed to a
Officials said Barak may be appointed to the Cabinet as Minister
without portfolio, charged with responsibility for internal
security. According to the report, he may also have certain
responsibilities in the Ministry of Defense, and may be given
additional "political missions."
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